The NRA declares bankruptcy: 5 questions answered

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Facing legal and financial challenges, the NRA wants to exit New York. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Editor’s note: Although the National Rifle Association is headquartered in Northern Virginia, it is incorporated in New York. The gun group recently announced a new “strategic plan” to restructure under bankruptcy and reincorporate in Texas. The Conversation U.S. asked accounting scholars Brian Mittendorf and Sarah Webber to answer five key questions related to the NRA’s intentions.

1. What precipitated this announcement?

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA in 2020 over alleged financial irregularities, such as improperly making millions of dollars in payments to benefit longtime leader Wayne LaPierre and other executives. Among the lawsuit’s allegations is a claim that the NRA tried to disguise trips to the Bahamas and other forms of lavish compensation as business expenses. James seeks to dissolve the organization. Though it disputes many of the charges, the organization has admitted to experiencing a “significant diversion of assets” through reimbursements for personal expenses. These issues have also resulted in litigation stemming from the relationship with marketing and public relations firm Ackerman McQueen.

A New York state judge on Jan. 21 dismissed the NRA’s effort to quash the New York attorney general’s lawsuit or move it to a federal court in Albany, the state capital.

Photo of a woman wearing glasses, standing in front of a state crest and an American flag
New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued the NRA.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

2. How might bankruptcy help the NRA reincorporate?

When nonprofits file for bankruptcy, that generally halts pending litigation while providing more time to pay off creditors. But there is an exception for actions by governments, such as the pending lawsuit the New York attorney general filed in 2020. The bankruptcy case could give the NRA more time to proceed with reincorporation by stopping claims from creditors and also allow the bankruptcy court to decide how to distribute and organize the NRA’s assets. This shift in decision-making authority for the NRA’s assets may help the NRA with its reincorporation efforts.

3. How does the pending New York dissolution case affect the NRA’s proposed bankruptcy reorganization?

Incorporation in New York, where the group was founded 150 years ago, means that state regulates the nonprofit and thereby regulates the NRA’s finances. During the legal proceedings to dissolve the NRA in New York, the NRA may not transfer its assets. While the NRA could set up a new corporation in Texas, the entity’s assets would not be released without consent from New York authorities. The NRA would need the bankruptcy court to have the ability to control the NRA’s assets to have a successful reorganization.

In short, given New York’s laws governing nonprofits, the NRA cannot dissolve without the state’s blessing. And James responded to the NRA’s announcement by expressing her firm opposition to reincorporation in Texas.

4. Is bankruptcy justified?

Thanks to the NRA’s concurrent announcement that it “is in its strongest financial condition in years,” some observers have questioned whether it is filing for bankruptcy in good faith. Based on the evidence currently available, it’s too early to tell whether bankruptcy is justified.

The NRA has experienced years of financial trouble. There are plenty of red flags indicating a financial tsunami on the horizon, but no sign yet that one has hit. The organization had losses in each of the past four years, eroding its financial position.

The NRA has managed to show resilience in terms of keeping cash on hand, ending 2019 with cash and investments worth over $75 million. Yet because it owes substantial amounts to others, the assets that the NRA had available to use at its discretion amounted to a nearly $50 million deficit in 2019.

Having cut pension benefits, made layoffs and pay cuts, sold multiyear memberships to boost revenues and even borrowed from its affiliated foundation, the organization is running low on ways to shore up funds. In its latest financial audit from 2019 filed with New York authorities, the NRA disclosed that a large portion of its debts – $35 million – come due in 2021. That disclosure further suggests why now might in fact be an apt time for the NRA to seek bankruptcy protection.

5. Why does the NRA want to reincorporate in Texas?

In seeking reincorporation, the NRA would be changing its legal home and changing which state’s laws will govern it. Reincorporation would not require the NRA to relocate its main offices, which are in Fairfax, Virginia.

Texas is seen as a pro-gun and debtor-friendly state, and observers believe that it may offer the NRA more protection against claims from its creditors. That is, the NRA may hope that a federal bankruptcy court located in Texas will be more likely to rule in its favor regarding amounts owed to creditors than a New York or Virginia court.

However, the NRA faces significant challenges with both its bankruptcy case and the attempt to reincorporate. The Texas court may throw out the bankruptcy petition or move the bankruptcy case to another location with more substantial ties, such as a court in Virginia or New York.

Another hurdle for the NRA to clear is demonstrating whether the Chapter 11 reorganization it wants to undergo is necessary. If not, the bankruptcy judge could determine this move is a ploy to try to evade New York’s power to potentially take control of the NRA’s assets. The NRA maintains that it filed for bankruptcy in good faith.

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The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Ripple price prepares for a 47% explosion following rebound from $0.25

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ripple

  • Ripple reclaims two key support levels at $0.25 and $0.27.
  • XRP/USD is awaiting a massive liftoff on breaking above symmetrical triangle resistance.

Ripple fell victim to the selling pressure in the cryptocurrency market on Thursday. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, XRP lost a significant amount of the gains accrued over the last couple of weeks. Moreover, vital support levels like the 200 Simple Moving Average and $0.25 were lost during the freefall.

However, Ripple has begun looking bullish again after reclaiming ground above $0.27. On the upside, bulls focus on regaining the lost position above the 200 SMA, but the most significant milestone will be to step and settle above $0.3.

The bullish outlook will be validated if XRP fights for a breakout above the symmetrical triangle pattern on the 4-hour chart. This pattern is created by drawing two converging trendlines to connect a series of sequential peaks and troughs. Usually, the trendlines meet at a relatively equal point referred to as an apex.

Breakout or a breakdown is expected from this pattern. Breakouts occur when the price lifts above the upper trendline, while a breakdown happens on sliding under the lower trendline. The price target for either a breakout or a breakdown is measured from the highest to the triangle’s lowest point. Therefore, if XRP spikes the triangle on the daily chart, we will likely witness a 47% upswing to $0.445.

XRP/USD daily chart

XRP/USD price chart
XRP/USD price chart by Tradingview

It is worth mentioning that the breakout might fail to occur if the hurdle at the 200 SMA remains unshaken. The triangle could as well result in an opposite and equal move to $0.14. For now, consolidation and holding above support at $0.27 is key to the uptrend.

The post Ripple price prepares for a 47% explosion following rebound from $0.25 appeared first on Coingape.

Market Correction Or Bull’s Strategy, Why this Bitcoin Dip Might be Bullish And Not Bearish?

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On-chain Bitcoin metrics suggest that the price correction might play in bitcoin’s favor as whale accumulation has seen a significant surge over the past couple of days. Bitcoin price correction of 13% yesterday took it to below $30,000 level for the first time in 3 months, raising speculation about a long due market correction.

Why This Might be Best Entry Point for Bitcoin Bulls?

Blockchain data analytics firm Santiment shared that the ratio between the Bitmex long shorts has neutralized after several days of longs dominating over shorts. This is good news for whales as it has reduced the growing premium on exchanges created due to excessive buying pressure.

If bulls were to take Bitcoin long positions this is an opportunity they will not miss as they no long have to pay for shorts. 

Funding Rates on Exchanges Turns Negative

Apart from the lowering premium rates and growing whale addresses in the wake of yesterday’s crash, the funding rates on exchanges have finally gone negative suggesting a building bullish sentiment.

if funding is positive, longs are paying shorts. if it is very high (>.1%) it means the market is disproportionately long and there is a lot of incentive to be short, so generally, you’d expect a correction of some sort. but none is given and the price could continue to go up a lot

Bitcoin’s current funding rate on Binance has gone down below 0.1% currently at 0.0471 levels. The last time when bitcoin funding rates registered such a cool-off price soared to new all-time-highs and the building bullish momentum could very well play in bitcoin bulls’ favor.

Source: Defirate

The top cryptocurrency is currently trying to build strong support at $30,000 to make a move upward. Throughout this bull, season bitcoin has managed to overcome most of the resistance up to $40,000 with ease before registering a couple of price corrections of up to 23%.

Price corrections and market pullback are part of a bull run where many believe that these market shakeups help in indicating weak hands who bought in because of the hype and wanted to make quick money. With most of the exchange premiums now gone, and liquidity of exchanges nearing dry, bitcoin bulls might take charge again after almost two weeks.

The post Market Correction Or Bull’s Strategy, Why this Bitcoin Dip Might be Bullish And Not Bearish? appeared first on Coingape.

On-chain Analysis: Bearish Sentiment Ahead for BTC Price As Miner Exchange Inflow Spikes

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Bitcoin (BTC) tanked more than 13% earlier today going all the way below $30,000 levels. Although BTC has partially recovered and currently trading around $31,000 levels the bearish sentiment continues in the market as per on-chain data. Major points:

  • F2P Pool Miners Dumping Bitcoin
  • 100k BTC set to Expire at Deribit next Friday
  • Bitcoin price Premiums turn Negative at Coinbase

Bitcoin Miners Dumping Bitcoin While Coinbase Premiums Turn Negative

CryptoQuant CE Ki-Young Ju mentions that this dip might have started by the F2Pool miners.

  • Moreover, the on-chain platform also notes that the all-exchange-bitcoin-transactions inflows have gone above 560. Similarly, the all-miner have been heavily depositing at exchanges.

  • Well, we can expect some more Bitcoin selling in the coming time and additional downward pressure on the BTC price. Another bearish signal supporting current bearish sentiment is that another 100K Bitcoins are set to expire at the Deribit Exchange by next Friday, January 29.

  • As reported by CoinGape earlier, BTC price premiums are have turned negative at Coinbase, meaning the buying pressure at Coinbase which was largely driving the bull run has declined. Recent analytics showed that coinbase premium’s were positive throughout the bull run and helped in predicting Bitcoin price movements with rising premiums suggesting high demand and vice-versa.

Are Institutions Buying or Selling Bitcoin?

Grayscale has been on a massive buying spree over the last week. The digital asset manager purchased more than $1.2 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC) over the last seven days. This purchase comes as Grayscale raises an equivalent amount from its clients.

Also, the assets under management for other Bitcoin products have also increased in recent times.

Ex Goldman Sachs manager and popular investor Raoul Pal has already jumped into the opportunity. He wrote:

“For longer-term HODLers of BTC and ETH this is probably a good time to start accumulating more. Personally, Ive added more ETH and now time to add more speculative crypto. Have not pulled trigger yet as doing some homework on it. Good luck ! Ugly price = opportunity”.

The post On-chain Analysis: Bearish Sentiment Ahead for BTC Price As Miner Exchange Inflow Spikes appeared first on Coingape.

TRON (TRX) becomes more popular than Ethereum (ETH) for USDT transactions

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TRON (TRX) remains in a bear market despite ongoing election uncertainty

Ethereum is the biggest development platform in the crypto industry, but its inability to scale and meet demand is beginning to take its toll. Due to the growing fees, the TRON blockchain has become a much more popular network — useful not only for buying TRX, but also for small Tether (USDT) transactions.

Many USDT users shifted from Ethereum to TRON

According to recent data, the number of USDT transactions on TRON has surged recently. In fact, it has gone up enough to pass Ethereum’s count for as many as three consecutive weeks.

It is believed that the reason for this is Ethereum’s gas fees, which remain quite high. As such, they are only affordable and sensible for those who have larger transactions to process. There are still quite a few users willing to pay elevated prices of the Ethereum network. For the last month, ETH has had around 1.5 million weekly transactions.

However, users who wish to invest in cryptocurrency in smaller quantities have turned to TRON. This is quite clear from the project’s transaction count, which skyrocketed from 900,000 in mid-December, to almost 2 million per week in mid-January.

TRON is more popular for smaller USDT transactions

According to Coin Metrics, the reason for this is the high price of fees, which tend to go as high up as to reach prices above $19. Currently, the fees sit just below $8. However, while below the all-time high, that is still considered very high for the crypto industry, where millions of dollars can be processed for barely a few cents.

Another crypto data firm, Blockchair, noted that fees have surpassed 0.015 ETH several times in the last month. As it were, crypto users do not wish to spend their money on paying high fees, which is why they shift to a cheaper network — TRON’s.

Ethereum still processes a greater volume of USDT than TRON, meaning that only those who transact smaller amounts are migrating to the rivaling blockchain.

Tether’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, said that it is logical for smaller transactors to use TRON, especially as the younger project saw good adoption on exchanges. TRON, of course, is not the only alternative, but it seems to offer the best conditions when it comes to network effects, usability, and low fees.

The post TRON (TRX) becomes more popular than Ethereum (ETH) for USDT transactions appeared first on Invezz.

Global Right-Wing Extremism Networks Are Growing. The U.S. Is Just Now Catching Up.

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During the past two years, U.S. counterterrorism officials held meetings with their European counterparts to discuss an emerging threat: right-wing terror groups becoming increasingly global in their reach.

American neo-Nazis were traveling to train and fight with militias in the Ukraine. There were suspected links between U.S. extremists and the Russian Imperial Movement, a white supremacist group that was training foreigners in its St. Petersburg compounds. A gunman accused of killing 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 had denounced a “Hispanic invasion” and praised a white supremacist who killed 51 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and who had been inspired by violent American and Italian racists.

But the efforts to improve transatlantic cooperation against the threat ran into a recurring obstacle. During talks and communications, senior Trump administration officials steadfastly refused to use the term “right-wing terrorism,” causing disputes and confusion with the Europeans, who routinely use the phrase, current and former European and U.S. officials told ProPublica. Instead, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security referred to “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism,” while the State Department chose “racially or ethnically motivated terrorism.”

“We did have problems with the Europeans,” one national security official said. “They call it right-wing terrorism and they were angry that we didn’t. There was a real aversion to using that term on the U.S. side. The aversion came from political appointees in the Trump administration. We very quickly realized that if people talked about right-wing terrorism, it was a nonstarter with them.”

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The U.S. response to the globalization of the far-right threat has been slow, scattered and politicized, U.S. and European counterterrorism veterans and experts say. Whistleblowers and other critics have accused DHS leaders of downplaying the threat of white supremacy and slashing a unit dedicated to fighting domestic extremism. DHS has denied those accusations.

In 2019, a top FBI official told Congress the agency devoted only about 20% of its counterterrorism resources to the domestic threat. Nonetheless, some FBI field offices focus primarily on domestic terrorism.

Former counterterrorism officials said the president’s politics made their job harder. The disagreement over what to call the extremists was part of a larger concern about whether the administration was committed to fighting the threat.

“The rhetoric at the White House, anybody watching the rhetoric of the president, this was discouraging people in government from speaking out,” said Jason Blazakis, who ran a State Department counterterrorism unit from 2008 to 2018. “The president and his minions were focused on other threats.”

Other former officials disagreed. Federal agencies avoided the term “right-wing terrorism” because they didn’t want to give extremists legitimacy by placing them on the political spectrum, or to fuel the United States’ intense polarization, said Christopher K. Harnisch, the former deputy coordinator for countering violent extremism in the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau. Some causes espoused by white supremacists, such as using violence to protect the environment, are not regarded as traditionally right-wing ideology, said Harnisch, who stepped down this week.

“The most important point is that the Europeans and the U.S. were talking about the same people,” he said. “It hasn’t hindered our cooperation at all.”

As for the wider criticism of the Trump administration, Harnisch said: “In our work at the State Department, we never faced one scintilla of opposition from the White House about taking on white supremacy. I can tell you that the White House was entirely supportive.”

The State Department focused mostly on foreign extremist movements, but it examined some of their links to U.S. groups as well.

There was clearly progress on some fronts. The State Department took a historic step in April by designating the Russian Imperial Movement and three of its leaders as terrorists, saying that the group’s trainees included Swedish extremists who carried out bombing attacks on refugees. It was the first such U.S. designation of a far-right terrorist group.

With Trump now out of office, Europeans and Americans expect improved cooperation against right-wing terrorists. Like the Islamist threat, it is becoming clear that the far-right threat is international. In December, a French computer programmer committed suicide after giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to U.S. extremist causes. The recipients included a neo-Nazi news website. Federal agencies are investigating, but it is not yet clear whether anything about the transaction was illegal, officials said.

“It’s like a transatlantic thing now,” said a European counterterror chief, describing American conspiracy theories that surface in the chatter he tracks. “Europe is taking ideology from U.S. groups and vice versa.”

The Crackdown

International alliances make extremist groups more dangerous, but also create vulnerabilities that law enforcement could exploit.

Laws in Europe and Canada allow authorities to outlaw domestic extremist groups and conduct aggressive surveillance of suspected members. America’s civil liberties laws, which trace to the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech spelled out in the First Amendment, are far less expansive. The FBI and other agencies have considerably more authority to investigate U.S. individuals and groups if they develop ties with foreign terror organizations. So far, those legal tools have gone largely unused in relation to right-wing extremism, experts say.

To catch up to the fast-spreading threat at home and abroad, Blazakis said, the U.S. should designate more foreign organizations as terrorist entities, especially ones that allied nations have already outlawed.

A recent case reflects the kind of strategy Blazakis and others have in mind. During the riots in May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, FBI agents got a tip that two members of the anti-government movement known as the Boogaloo Bois had armed themselves, according to court papers. The suspects were talking about killing police officers and attacking a National Guard armory to steal heavy weapons, the court papers allege. The FBI deployed an undercover informant who posed as a member of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, and offered to help the suspects obtain explosives and training. After the suspects started talking about a plot to attack a courthouse, agents arrested them, according to the court papers. In September, prosecutors filed charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, which can bring a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. One of the defendants pleaded guilty last month. The other still faces charges.

If the U.S. intelligence community starts using its vast resources to gather information on right-wing movements in other countries, it will find more linkages to groups in the United States, Blazakis and other experts predicted. Rather than resorting to a sting, authorities could charge American extremists for engaging in propaganda activity, financing, training or participating in other actions with foreign counterparts.

A crackdown would bring risks, however. After the assault on the Capitol, calls for bringing tougher laws and tactics to bear against suspected domestic extremists revived fears about civil liberties similar to those raised by Muslim and human rights organizations during the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” An excessive response could give the impression that authorities are criminalizing political views, which could worsen radicalization among right-wing groups and individuals for whom suspicion of government is a core tenet.

“You will hit a brick wall of privacy and civil liberties concerns very quickly,” said Seamus Hughes, a former counterterrorism official who is now deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He said the federal response should avoid feeding into “the already existing grievance of government overreach. The goal should be marginalization.”

In recent years, civil liberties groups have warned against responding to the rise in domestic extremism with harsh new laws.

“Some lawmakers are rushing to give law enforcement agencies harmful additional powers and creating new crimes,” wrote Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU’s national security project, in a statement by the organization about congressional hearings on the issue in 2019. “That approach ignores the way power, racism, and national security laws work in America. It will harm the communities of color that white supremacist violence targets — and undermine the constitutional rights that protect all of us.”

The Pivot Problem

There is also an understandable structural problem. Since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, intelligence and law enforcement agencies have dedicated themselves to the relentless pursuit of al-Qaida, the Islamic State, Iran and other Islamist foes.

Now the counterterrorism apparatus has to shift its aim to a new menace, one that is more opaque and diffuse than Islamist networks, experts said.

It will be like turning around an aircraft carrier, said Blazakis, the former State Department counterterrorism official, who is now a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

“The U.S. government is super slow to pivot to new threats,” Blazakis said. “There is a reluctance to shift resources to new targets. And there was a politicization of intelligence during the Trump administration. There was a fear to speak out.”

Despite periodic resistance and generalized disorder in the Trump administration, some agencies advanced on their own, officials said. European counterterror officials say the FBI has become increasingly active in sharing and requesting intelligence about right-wing extremists overseas.

A European counterterror chief described recent conversations with U.S. agents about Americans attending neo-Nazi rallies and concerts in Europe and traveling to join the Azov Battalion, an ultranationalist Ukrainian militia fighting Russian-backed separatists. About 17,000 fighters from 50 countries, including at least 35 Americans, have traveled to the Ukrainian conflict zone, where they join units on both sides, according to one study. The fighting in the Donbass region offers them training, combat experience, international contacts and a sense of themselves as warriors, a theater reminiscent of Syria or Afghanistan for jihadis.

“The far right was not a priority for a long time,” the European counterterror chief said. “Now they are saying it’s a real threat for all our societies. Now they are seeing we have to handle it like Islamic terrorism. Now that we are sharing and we have a bigger picture, we see it’s really international, not domestic.”

Galvanized

The assault on Congress signaled the start of a new era, experts said. The convergence of a mix of extremist groups and activists solidified the idea that the far-right threat has overtaken the Islamist threat in the United States, and that the government has to change policies and shift resources accordingly. Experts predict that the Biden administration will make global right-wing extremism a top counterterrorism priority.

“This is on the rise and has gotten from nowhere on the radar to very intense in a couple of years,” a U.S. national security official said. “It is hard to see how it doesn’t continue. It will be a lot easier for U.S. officials to get concerned where there is a strong U.S. angle.”

A previous spike in domestic terrorism took place in the 1990s, an era of violent clashes between U.S. law enforcement agencies and extremists. In 1992, an FBI sniper gunned down the wife of a white supremacist during an armed standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. The next year, four federal agents died in a raid on heavily armed members of a cult in Waco, Texas; the ensuing standoff at the compound ended in a fire that killed 76 people.Both sieges played a role in the radicalization of the anti-government terrorists who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people, including children in a day care center for federal employees. Oklahoma City remains the deadliest terrorist act on U.S. soil aside from the Sept. 11 attacks.

The rise of al-Qaida in 2001 transformed the counterterrorism landscape, spawning new laws and government agencies and a worldwide campaign by intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the military. Despite subsequent plots and occasionally successful attacks involving one or two militants, stronger U.S. defenses and limited radicalization among American Muslims prevented Islamist networks from hitting the United States with the kind of well-trained, remotely directed teams that carried out mass casualty strikes in London in 2005, Mumbai in 2008 and Paris in 2015.

During the past decade, domestic terrorism surged in the United States. Some of the activity was on the political left, such as the gunman who opened fire at a baseball field in Virginia in 2017. The attack critically wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican legislator from Louisiana who was the House Majority whip, as well as a Capitol Police officer guarding him and four others.

But many indicators show that far-right extremism is deadlier. Right-wing attacks and plots accounted for the majority of all terrorist incidents in the country between 1994 and 2020, according to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Anti-Defamation League reported in 2018 that right-wing terrorists were responsible for more than three times as many deaths as Islamists during the previous decade.

“There have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years,” said Michael McGarrity, then the counterterrorism chief of the FBI, in congressional testimony in 2019. “Individuals affiliated with racially-motivated violent extremism are responsible for the most lethal and violent activity.”

During the same testimony, McGarrity said the FBI dedicated only about 20% of its counterterrorism resources to the domestic threat. The imbalance, experts say, was partly a lingering result of the global offensive by the Islamic State, whose power peaked in the middle of the decade. Another reason: Laws and rules instituted in the 1970s after FBI spying scandals make it much harder to monitor, investigate and prosecute Americans suspected of domestic extremism.

The Trump Administration and the Europeans

Critics say the Trump administration was reluctant to take on right-wing extremism. The former president set the tone with his public statements about the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, they say, and with his call last year telling the far-right Proud Boys group to “stand back and stand by.”

Still, various agencies increased their focus on the issue because of a drumbeat of attacks at home — notably the murders of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 — and overseas. The Christchurch massacre of worshippers at mosques in New Zealand in March 2019 caught the attention of American officials. It was a portrait of the globalization of right-wing terrorism.

Brenton Tarrant, the 29-year-old Australian who livestreamed his attack, had traveled extensively in Europe, visiting sites he saw as part of a struggle between Christianity and Islam. In his manifesto, he cited the writings of a French ideologue and of Dylann Roof, an American who killed nine people at a predominantly Black church in South Carolina in 2015. While driving to the mosques, Tarrant played an ode to Serbian nationalist fighters of the Balkan wars on his car radio. And he carried an assault rifle on which he had scrawled the name of an Italian gunman who had shot African immigrants in a rampage the year before.

Christchurch was “part of a wave of violent incidents worldwide, the perpetrators of which were part of similar transnational online communities and took inspiration from one another,” said a report last year by Europol, an agency that coordinates law enforcement across Europe. The report described English as “the lingua franca of a transnational right-wing extremist community.”

With its long tradition of political terrorism on both extremes, Europe has also suffered a spike in right-wing violence. Much of it is a backlash to immigration in general and Muslim communities in particular. Responding to assassinations of politicians and other attacks, Germany and the United Kingdom have outlawed several organizations.

Closer to home, Canada has banned two neo-Nazi groups, Blood and Honour and Combat 18, making it possible to charge people for even possessing their paraphernalia or attending their events. Concerts and sales of video games, T-shirts and other items have become a prime source of international financing for right-wing movements, the European counterterror chief said.

During the past two years, officials at the FBI, DHS, State Department and other agencies tried to capitalize on the deeper expertise of European governments and improve transatlantic cooperation against right-wing extremism. Legal and cultural differences complicated the process, American and European officials said. A lack of order and cohesion in the U.S. national security community was another factor, they said.

“There was so little organization to the U.S. counterterrorism community that everybody decided for themselves what they would do,” a U.S. national security official said. “It was not the type of centrally controlled effort that would happen in other administrations.”

As a result, the U.S. government has sometimes been slow to respond to European requests for legal assistance and information-sharing about far-right extremism, said Eric Rosand, who served as a State Department counterterrorism official during the Obama administration.

“U.S.-European cooperation on addressing white supremacist and other far-right terrorism has been ad hoc and hobbled by a disjointed and inconsistent U.S. government approach,” Rosand said.

The semantic differences about what to call the threat didn’t help, according to Rosand and other critics. They say the Trump administration was averse to using the phrase “right-wing terrorism” because some groups on that part of the ideological spectrum supported the president.

“It highlights the disconnect,” Rosand said. “They were saying they didn’t want to suggest the terrorism is linked to politics. They didn’t want to politicize it. But if you don’t call it what it is because of concerns of how it might play with certain political consistencies, that politicizes it.”

Harnisch, the former deputy coordinator at the State Department counterterrorism bureau, rejected the criticism. He said cooperation with Europeans on the issue was “relatively nascent,” but that there had been concrete achievements.

“I think we laid a strong foundation, and I think the Biden administration will build on it,” Harnisch said. “From my perspective, we made significant progress on this threat within the Trump administration.”

Kyber Network (KNC) to launch a new token as part of a pending upgrade

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Kyber Network

Decentralized finance (DeFi) project, Kyber Network (KNC), is preparing to bring a new Kyber 3.0 upgrade that will bring greater network liquidity. As part of the preparations, Kyber Network also plans to issue a brand new token.

Kyber network announces a major upgrade

The crypto industry’s largest tokens are at the center of attention these days. Bitcoin hit a new all-time high at $41,900 some twelve days ago. While it dipped since then, many are still rushing to buy Bitcoin (BTC) in hopes of its price surging again.

Meanwhile, others have opted to buy Ethereum (ETH), as the coin reached its own ATH only days ago. Meanwhile, the DeFi sector still continues to advance, recently hitting a TVL of $25 billion. Many of its individual projects are rapidly developing, including Kyber Network, which just made an announcement that it aims to upgrade to Kyber 3.0.

The exchange aims to bring new features that would protect its liquidity providers from major losses during more volatile periods. After that, the exchange also plans to bring changes that would bring its KNC token more utility. These changes will be up to its community to vote on.

What else does Kyber Network have in store for the future?

The platform also aims to bring custom liquidity pools, which will make it easier for DeFi applications to access liquidity across the entire network. Gas fees will be reduced, and so will slippage.

Furthermore, Kyber Network co-founder, Loi Luu, expects that networked pools can also create new potential for the platform, noting that there are many milestones that Kyber Network aims to achieve down the road. He shared Kyber Network’s goal, which is to be a hub for liquidity innovation and growth.

The first major development on this road is the new DMM (Dynamic Market Maker) — KyberDAO. It has the ability to drive and capture value from network innovation, and this ability will also be further amplified.

The post Kyber Network (KNC) to launch a new token as part of a pending upgrade appeared first on Invezz.

Bitcoin Price Dips Below $30,000 as Coinbase Premium Goes to -122

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At present, the Coinbase premium is running in negative at -122 suggesting the selling pressure is high and whales are more likely to sell than hodling. Coinbase Premium is the bitcoin price difference in USDT on Coinbase and Binance. During the peak of the bull season, the extensive buying by whales took the price of BTC on Coinbase $300 more than that of Binance owing to high buying pressure. Over the past few weeks, the Coinbase premium has turned out to be a reliable indicator to suggest the market sentiments.

$28k May is not Bottom As Bitcoin Price Premium Dips Further

Bitcoin price seems to be struggling to hold its position above $30,000 having recorded a daily low of $28,900 as the crypto market shows signs of the first significant correction since November last year when the bitcoin price started to climb. Despite a significant liquidity crunch on exchanges and massive hoarding by whales during the price crash, it seems bitcoin’s volatility is making it harder to make a call.

However, one particular pattern or correlation that has emerged this bull season is the Coinbase Premium.

Bitcoin Price and Coinbase Premium

Price Premiums are nothing new and often reflects the low supply and high demand. However, exchange price premiums were mostly seen on platforms with low liquidity and a small customer base, this bull season, the massive whale trades has led to BTC being bought and sold at premium prices on some of the most popular exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase with trading volume in billions.

It all began when BTC started selling at a premium in Asian markets especially South Korea leading to Asian whales selling in heaps and creating a minor dip in BTC price, followed by US whales aggressively buying the dip creating a price difference of up to $350 on Coinbase and Binance.

The post Bitcoin Price Dips Below $30,000 as Coinbase Premium Goes to -122 appeared first on Coingape.

De-constructing All The Myth and FUD Around Bitcoin (BTC) Double-Spend and Inflation

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No!! Bitcoin did not “DOUBLE-SPEND”!! The Bitcoin blockchain is functioning just as normal and exactly how it should be!! Well, to take a gist of this, let’s take a look at the events in recent days and de-construct them sequentially.

Bitcoin (BTC) price has corrected significantly in the last three/four days while taking a dip just below $30,000 levels a few hours back. However, BTC has now pulled back and is currently trading at $30,440 levels with a market cap of $569 billion.

As we have been reporting, over the last few days, there’s been heavy institutional BTC accumulation by Grayscale. On the other hand, traders resolved to Bitcoin HOLDing with a simultaneous surge in the whale accounts. If these are not bullish signs, the BTC supply at the exchanges has dropped to the lowest in years.

But then why is the Bitcoin price falling continuously? Well, there’s been a FUD floating around Bitcoin double-spend and inflation. So as it happened, Bitmex Research reported a “double-spent attempt” that fueled all the FUD in the market. Well, this was enough to create the frenzy and lead to a selling spree among investors.

But popular personalities from the cryptocurrency space: Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos and CoinMetrics CEO Lucas Nazzi has come out with a fair and square explanation of the same. Let’s take a look at what actually happened.

  • On 18th Jan, a user broadcasted a transaction with low fees and miners left it untouched since they had more profitable opportunities at hand. In such a case, the broadcaster has two options 1) wait for fees to drop 2) increase fee by informing miners.
  • Now in case of an already broadcasted transaction, the user can increase the fee by an RBF (Replace-by-Fee) transaction. The RBF is just a copy of the original transaction but with a higher fee and explicit instruction to process the new transaction.
  • So when miners didn’t respond to the original broadcasted transaction, the next day on 19th, the user issued the first RBF but only with a minor fee increase. Miners again ignored it and the transaction was stuck again. So after a few hours, the broadcaster issued the second RBF with enough high fees.
  • So the original broadcaster issued three transactions in total: 1) Dec 18th 22:11 UTC (1 sat/b) 2) Dec 19th 21:22 UTC (9.4 sat/b) 3) Dec 20th 00:32 UTC (14.3 sat/b)
  • As Lucas Nazzi explains: “At around 1:18AM the blockchain split into 2 versions, which is an entirely normal occurrence; a fundamental part of how Bitcoin works. When this happens (1+ times per month), miners need to converge on a single version of events, which often takes around 1 block, or 10 min”.
  • Interestingly, by the time the user issued the second RBF (i.e. third transaction), the miner fee dropped and the chain was already split. What happened is one miner picked the first transaction with the lower fee and the other miner picked the third one. Note that RBFs are optional and they givers miners to pick the transaction of their choice. In this case, it looked like a “double-spend” aka bitcoin inflation. However, this is a very normal event.
  • The chain got split for a single block, which was normal, however, only the miner that accepted the lower fee transaction ended up winning the deal. So although there were different versions of the same transaction only 1 was accepted eventually. Once again, all credit to Lucas once again for this wonderful explanation.

As Andreas Antonopolous says, this has been exactly explained in the Bitcoin bible aka the Satoshi whitepaper.

Interestingly, some publications that misrepresented the entire event had been trying to put the blame on BitMex for reporting the “double-spend attempt”. BitMex has issued a clarification and summarised all transactons.

Andreas Antonopoulos has come to BitMex’s rescue slamming those who were blaming the platform for reporting the story. He writes:

“BitMEX correctly reported a double-spend attempt with their useful monitoring tool. Irresponsible reporters took that and added misinformation. This is not on BitMex, stop shooting the innocent messenger.”

The post De-constructing All The Myth and FUD Around Bitcoin (BTC) Double-Spend and Inflation appeared first on Coingape.

Ethereum price drops like a rock on losing crucial support, why correction is unstoppable to $900

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ethereum Weekly Price analysis

  • Ethereum plummets from record highs of $1,446, resting sub $1,000 amid widespread crypto corrections.
  • Ether may break down to $900 if support at $1,000 fails to hold.

The cryptocurrency market is in bloodshed with assets posting massive losses over the last 24 hours. Ethereum is down a whopping 21% amid continuing declines while Bitcoin is trading sub $30,000 and could drop to $25,000 as predicted on Thursday.

Over $165 billion of the crypto market value has been wiped off as investors panic-sell in a bid to take profits. Meanwhile, the total market capitalization holds at $850 billion after dropping from $1.015 trillion in less than 24 hours.

Ethereum is trading at $1,130 after the cryptocurrency lost the ascending parallel channel support as discussed on Thursday. Other tentative support levels at the 50 Simple Moving Average and the 100 SMA on the 4-hour chart did little to stop the losses.

For now, the least resistance path is downwards, especially with the Relative Strength Index heading fast toward the oversold area. The trend indicator highlights a bearish divergence, which may have validated the breakdown.

ETH/USD 4-hour chart

ETH/USD price chart
ETH/USD price chart by Tradingview

Support at $1,000 is expected to help shake off the selling pressure in the market, and perhaps function as a stepping stone for Ethereum to resume the uptrend. However, if declines overshoot this zone, Ether is likely to extend the bearish leg to the 200 SMA before revisiting the primary anchor at $900.

Ethereum intraday levels

Spot rate: $1,130

Relative change: 13

Percentage change: 1.2%

Trend: Short term bullish

Volatility: Expanding

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A Short List Of Stablecoins: Are They Worth It?

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When it comes to investing in cryptocurrency, many people opt for alternative coins that are not as volatile as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Therefore, stablecoins often take the spotlight as a less risky option in the crypto market. However, not even stablecoins are a risk-free safe haven hedge against inflation. Some even speculate that the downfall of one major stablecoin, Tether, could send shockwaves through the entire market. However, let’s take a look at what keeps stablecoins stable, and what the subsequent risks are. Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more What Keeps Stablecoins Sta…

Iran, pressured by blackouts and pollution, targets Bitcoin

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Iran’s capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. Traffic lights died. Offices went dark. Online classes stopped. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Soon, fingers pointed at an unlikely culprit: Bitcoin. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their…

Professionals Admit They Only Work 3-4 Hours A Day

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Work Hours

31% of professionals admit they only work 3-4 hours a day

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

When it comes to answering the question “Are remote workers actually working?” it’s easy to hear some skepticism behind the text. “Working from home” often comes with its own set of air quotes, like it’s code for “hanging out” or “watching Netflix.” But is that skepticism deserved? Or are remote workers getting a bad rap?

How Hours Do Professionals Work A Day?

A user on Blind asked “How many real hours of work do you put in each day?”

Key Learnings:

  • 31% of professionals say they work 3-4 hours a day
    • 43% of eBay professionals say they work 3-4 hours a day
  • 27% of professionals say they work 5-6 hours a day
    • 50% of AirBnb professionals say they work 5-6 hours a day
  • 15% of professionals say they work 7-8 hours a day
    • 27% of ByteDance professionals say they work 7-8 hours a day
  • 15% of professionals say they work 9-10 hours a day
    • 30% of Zoox professionals say they work 9-10 hours a day
  • 11% of professionals say they work 1-2 hours a day
    • 25% of Capital One professionals say they work 1-2 hours a day

Work Hours

Professionals Share Their WFH Experience

A professional at Amazon shared “Although sometimes I take a nap from 2-4pm (usually no lunch break) or take the dogs out and a 2 hr dinner break. Pretty much work 930am to midnight.”

A different professional at Amazon shared “Last year, went through a period of 12-14 hours days. 65-70 hours weeks. Week in, week out. Burn out 🔥 set in. And absolutely no payoff – no recognition, no promos, no real benefit to me. Just misery. I took ownership of this and now I only work 44-48 hours weeks. I’m more focused, more productive, and happier.”

A third Amazon professional commented “Amazon requires at least 10 hours a day, with exceptions and maybe less work on Fridays or more work on weekends. I’m working way more during Covid-19, calendar’s full back to back, leadership is asking for more. “

A professional at Facebook commented “If meetings count then 9-10. If they do not…<1”

The data shows that while they are working remotely, the majority of these employees are also taking care of a few personal errands, whether it be picking the kids up from school in the afternoon or taking the dog for a walk around midday.

However it is hard to punish lack of productivity. Afterall, employees are not working from home, they are surviving a pandemic.

 

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I Just Bought My First Cryptocurrency

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Cash Bitcoin National Debt Bitcoin Bitcoin $30K late buy Bitcoin $100000 Bitcoin Price boost Bitcoin whitepaper BitMEX Case Gold Bitcoin Correlation

I have been curious about cryptocurrencies for a while, and yesterday I bought some for the first time. Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to be used as money that typically uses encrypted blockchain technology to enable transactions between buyers and sellers. It is a decentralized currency operating separately from standard, government-backed money controlled by a central bank or other authority.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Bitcoin was the first significant cryptocurrency, initially described in a 2008 paper and launched on the heels of the widespread financial crisis that shook consumer confidence with bank failures and taxpayer-funded bailouts. Bitcoin and Ethereum are two of the largest and most popular cryptocurrencies, but there are currently thousands of different versions of virtual currencies, or “altcoins” as they are sometimes called.

Lately, cryptocurrencies have been making headlines with their soaring valuations. Bitcoin, for example, is already up 30 percent in value in 2021, and up 800 percent from its 2020 low last spring. According to CNBC, the “rise has been helped by increased institutional buying and the perception that it is an uncorrelated safe haven asset akin to gold.”

I was pleasantly surprised to find so many restaurants near me that welcome Bitcoin Cash and so I bought Chinese takeout for the whole family.

Despite their current fame and intrigue, cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and risky. I don’t have the stomach for such investing, but I did want to see what all the buzz was about. I also wanted to support the entrepreneurs who are creating new monetary and investment methods, and the local businesses that are eager to accept alternative currencies.

My first step was to visit Bitcoin.com and download their free mobile wallet app. Bitcoin.com is an informational website on cryptocurrencies, as well as a portal for buying and selling these digital assets. It’s a great place for beginners like me. The company’s founder, Roger Ver, announced this week that he is donating two major gifts to FEE totaling $2 million in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), a type of cryptocurrency with low transaction fees.

“I was a subscriber to FEE’s long-running magazine The Freeman when I was in high school and I owe a lot of my success in Bitcoin to what I learned reading about the moral urgency of having a monetary system that exists separate from state force,” Ver said in a statement about his generous gift. “I was looking around the world today and I saw global lockdowns, inflation, attacks on individual liberty, and I thought: ‘Who are the most important voices of freedom today?’ FEE is at the top of my list. I want to help FEE have the same impact on the lives of millions of young people that they did on mine.”

That kind of passion for liberty and cryptocurrency prompted me to act. After downloading the Bitcoin.com mobile wallet, I followed the simple instructions and purchased $100 in Bitcoin Cash. It was easy and straightforward. Next, I had to decide what to do with my cryptocurrency. My 12-year-old son asked what I was working on. I told him I would pay his allowance this week in Bitcoin Cash if he wanted. Always eager to explore a new app, he quickly downloaded the Bitcoin.com wallet and within a few minutes his allowance appeared on the screen.

As a decentralized, peer-to-peer alternative method of exchange that is difficult to digitally “mine,” cryptocurrency challenges established norms and offers a new monetary vision.

How else could I use my Bitcoin Cash? On their website, Bitcoin.com offers a worldwide searchable map to locate nearby businesses that accept cryptocurrency. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many restaurants near me that welcome Bitcoin Cash and so I bought Chinese takeout for the whole family.

As I mentioned, I do not intend to be a committed cryptocurrency investor—although I can fully understand the appeal—but I likely will continue to purchase more of these virtual currencies to use at local merchants and some of the major companies that now accept them, including Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Not too long ago, using or investing in cryptocurrency was considered a fringe act. Investor Warren Buffett once called Bitcoin “rat poison squared.” Now, it’s viewed as smart portfolio diversification, a protection against inflation, and something esteemed institutions such as MassMutual and billionaires such as hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller actively invest in. This is a reversal for Druckeniller who said in 2018 that he “didn’t want to own bitcoin,” and who now believes that his cryptocurrency investment will “work better” than gold.

And that rat poison that Buffett referred to in 2018? Bitcoin’s market capitalization is now nearing that of Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Whether it’s a long-term investment or a way to buy Chinese food from down the road, cryptocurrency is worth a closer look.

Pandemic policies have contributed to this newfound appreciation for cryptocurrency. Governments have printed money at an astonishing pace over the past year in response to lockdowns and related economic disruption, causing many individuals and investors to be concerned about future inflation. Suddenly, virtual currencies seem more appealing. Unlike fiat money, or money issued by a government, such as the US dollar, most cryptocurrencies have strict built-in limits on the extent to which they can be inflated and therefore devalued.

As a decentralized, peer-to-peer alternative method of exchange that is difficult to digitally “mine,” cryptocurrency challenges established norms and offers a new monetary vision.

The roots of cryptocurrency can be found within the Austrian school of economics dating back to Carl Menger, the philosophical founder of this line of economic thinking. In Menger’s “Nature and Origin of Money” essay from 1892, he writes:

Money is not an invention of the state. It is not the product of a legislative act. Even the sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence. Certain commodities came to be money quite naturally, as the result of economic relationships that were independent of the power of the state.

This market-based understanding of money was elaborated by another great Austrian Economist, Ludwig von Mises in his 1912 book The Theory of Money and Credit.

Yet another Austrian economist, the Nobel prize-winner Friedrich Hayek, decried inflation as a major threat to private enterprise and the proper functioning of a free society. In his 1976 book, Denationalization of Money, Hayek argues for a competitive system of private currencies. He writes: “As soon as one succeeds in freeing oneself of the universally but tacitly accepted creed that a country must be supplied by its government with its own distinctive and exclusive currency, all sorts of interesting questions arise which have never been examined.”

Cryptocurrency is one of the creative responses to these “interesting questions” and it is being increasingly examined, by both conventional investors and curious individuals. Whether it’s a long-term investment or a way to buy Chinese food from down the road, cryptocurrency is worth a closer look.

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

 

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Is 1inch a good buy at the moment?

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1inch coin

1Inch, the governance token of the decentralized exchange with the same name, outperformed the market in the past 24 hours with its resilience to market downturns. So, is now a good time to buy 1inch?

Fundamental analysis: 1inch is a perspective new DEX

1inch is a decentralized exchange aggregator that connects several DEXes into one platform. This enables users to find the most efficient routes to swap their tokens across platforms. 1inch launched its governance token, which spelt a beginning of 1inch Network being governed by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). 1inch raised $2.8 million in August 2020 as companies such as Binance Labs, Galaxy Digital, Greenfield one, and Libertus Capital invested in the project. Its second fund-raising event happened in December 2020, and raised $12 million from Pantera Capital, ParaFi Capital, Blockchain Capital, Nima Capital, and Spartan Group.

1inch’s overview looks slightly bullish, mostly because of all the well-known companies that invested in the project. It being a new and expanding project certainly added to its current market position as a cryptocurrency that’s somewhat resilient to market downturns. 1inch managed to score week-over-week gains of 27.74%. When compared to other top cryptos, it outperformed both BTC and ETH over the same period, as they posted losses of 17.22% and gains of 1.82%, respectively.

At the time of writing, 1inch is trading for $1.75, representing a month-over-month price increase of 27.78%. 1inch is currently the 114th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, boasting a value of $124 million.

Technical analysis: 1inch shows resilience to market fluctuations

1inch is currently in a healthy retracement period after it reached a high of $2.186. The cryptocurrency seems to respond well to the 4-hour 50-period EMA, which acts as its immediate support. Various analysts are calling for a long-term cup-with-handle base formation, which started with the launch of 1inch trading, with the current price direction acting out the “handle” part of the movement.

1inch faces a strong resistance zone near the 61.8% Fib retracement of $2.05, while its support is guarded by the 50-period 4-hour EMA, as well as the 78.6% Fib retracement level of $1.48.

1INCH/USD 4-hour chart

1inch’s RSI on the daily time-frame is in a downtrend ever since the cryptocurrency created recent highs a week ago. Its value is now in the neutral part of the range, sitting at 48.31.

1INCH/USD 1-hour chart

Zooming in to the hourly time-frame, we can better see 1inch’s short-term fluctuations. On top of that, the cryptocurrency shows a steady decrease in volume, possibly indicating an end to the downturn and a breakout of the cup-with-handle base formation.

If the cup-with-handle base pattern breakout happens, traders may expect a target price equal to the distance of the from the mid-point of the cup portion of the pattern to the recent highs.

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Will Biden Inaugurate Gold’s Rally?

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Gold Inauguration

The price of gold increased on Inauguration Day, arousing investors’ hopes for a new bullish phase.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Gold Price Increased On Inauguration Day

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official now – Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in as the President and Vice-President of the United States, respectively. What does this imply for America?

Well, before we move on to Biden, let’s say goodbye to Trump. You can love him or hate him, but there is no denying that the 45th presidency was excellent for the price of gold. As the chart below shows, the price of the yellow metal rose more than 50 percent since January 2017 (although gold initially declined after the election results).

Gold Inauguration

But Trump is now out of the White House, while Biden is in. What are the economic implications of this change? Well, I used to claim that people generally overestimate the impact that politics and the power of Presidents have over economic developments. However, this time may be different for two reasons.

First, Biden is going to quickly reverse many of Trump’s decisions . For instance, he is going to reverse the construction of the border wall, the travel ban targeting mainly Muslim countries, and the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord as well as from the World Health Organization. Biden will also impose a mask mandate on federal property, reversing Trump’s ambiguous stance on the epidemic in the U.S.

Second, the 46th presidency could be remembered in the future as having been fiscally lavish – and Biden seems to be determined to overshadow Trump in that matter. He has already proposed to spend $1.9 trillion to stimulate the economy – on top of previous aid packages worth more than $3 trillion. Importantly, Biden calls his mammoth plan just “the first step” and he is going to soon announce a plan for spending on infrastructure and clean energy which could be worth more than $2 trillion. Additionally, Janet Yellen , likely the next U.S. Treasury Secretary, has recently confirmed the stance of the new administration, saying that the government should act “big” to jump-start the economy, as “the benefits will far outweigh the costs” of being bold.

Implications for Gold

What does Biden’s presidency imply for the gold market? Well, we have already covered this theme in the two latest editions of the Gold Market Overview (and we will continue this topic in the next issue), but let us repeat that, from the fundamental point of view, Biden’s presidency looks promising for the price of gold . Although larger government expenditures can boost the GDP in the short run (the long-term economic impact could actually be negative), they will also expand the fiscal deficits and the federal debt .

Higher debts not only makes the economy more fragile and prone to debt crises , but they also make the normalization of monetary policy more difficult. The truth is that the U.S. simply cannot afford higher interest rates. You see, the higher the debts, the lower the interest rates must be to handle the debt servicing costs. Welcome to the debt trap . So, the Fed will have to maintain the federal funds rate at practically a zero level for a long time. The lower the real interest rates , the better it is for gold.

Oh, and did I mention inflation already? With the massive amount of stimulus injected into the U.S. economy, there is an overriding risk of overheating and increase in inflation, which would be positive for the gold prices.

So, as long as there is a strong risk appetite, hope for better politics (“this time will be different and this president will be different than everyone else and everything will change for the better”) and faster economic growth, gold may struggle.

However, when the honeymoon ends and investors acknowledge risks related to the higher fiscal stimulus, or when some economic crisis arrives and the risk appetite vanishes, gold will shine. Indeed, gold investors didn’t appear to be afraid of President Biden, as the price of gold increased on Inauguration Day.

If you enjoyed today’s free gold report , we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today . If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today!

Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD

Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

 

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Is Polkadot a good buy? DOT outperforms the market

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polkadot logo

Polkadot (DOT) continues to outperform the crypto sector despite its overall downtrend. DOT is currently the only cryptocurrency in the market cap top20 with a green 24-hour period. However, is Polkadot a good buy at the moment?

Fundamental analysis: Polkadot is crushing the market

Polkadot has entered a slow and steady retracement period after a major price surge that brought its price close to $20. On the other hand, the recent price descent has been (for a moment) interrupted by yet another surge in volume and price as DOT tried to retake its recent highs. Polkadot has dropped below the 23.6% Fib retracement since, and is trading around $16.5.

DOT’s overall outlook is quite bullish, mostly due to its fundamental outlook. Its fundamentals are greatly enhanced by Binance’s involvement in the project, both by marketing the platform to its users and by supporting the project directly by injecting $10 million into it. If we add the emerging altcoin season to the equation, we can see why Polkadot has been making such strong moves to the upside. DOT managed to score gains week-over-week of 31.83%. When compared to other top cryptos, it outperformed both BTC and ETH over the same period, as they posted a loss of 20% and a gain of 0.13%, respectively.

At the time of writing, DOT is trading for $16.54, representing a month-over-month price increase of 78.51%. Polkadot is currently the 4th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, boasting a value of $14.87 billion.

Technical analysis: DOT/USD less affected by the market downturn

Polkadot (DOT) started its bull run after breaking a steady trading pattern on 28 Dec 2020. While many thought that the cryptocurrency reached its top price around the $10 mark, DOT continued surging and reached a price just shy of $20. Even though DOT/USD is in a retracement period at the moment, it heavily outperforms most top cryptocurrencies in the sector. However, its drop below the $23.6% level is a short-term bearish sign.

DOT faces a strong resistance zone that ranges from just above $18 all the way up to its recent high of $19.40. When it comes to its support levels, DOT can find its bottom either at the 38.2% Fib retracement level that stands at a little above $15 or with the rising 21-day EMA.

DOT/USD daily chart

DOT’s RSI on the daily time-frame spent the previous week in the overbought territory, only leaving it today. Its current value sits at 64.94.

DOT/USD 1-hour chart

Zooming in to the hourly time-frame shows us DOT’s most recent influx of buyers and a price spike. However, the push was unsustainable as the cryptocurrency faced strong resistance around the $18 level, turn its direction back to a downtrend and continuing its retracement.

One thing to note, however, is that despite the steady downtrend that DOT is facing, the cryptocurrency outperforms the market by a large margin. The current overall short-term bearishness of the market arguably makes DOT’s price descent a far better investment and value-preserving option than a $32k Bitcoin.

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Coronavirus stimulus check still missing? How and when to ask IRS for Payment Trace

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Coronavirus, stimulus check, payment trace

Talks of the third round of stimulus checks have already started, but there are many who haven’t received their second stimulus check yet. It is being reported that those who didn’t get the payment will have to claim it later this year as a tax credit. However, there are two scenarios in which eligible people don’t need to claim it as a recovery rebate, rather they should immediately reach out to the IRS to trace their coronavirus stimulus check.




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Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus stimulus check: when to request payment trace

Congress approved the second stimulus payment late last month, and has already processed all the payments. There are, however, many eligible people who haven’t yet received their coronavirus stimulus check due to various reasons.

Such people need to claim their payment on their tax return as a Recovery Rebate Credit. Also, in certain (two) scenarios, instead of waiting to claim the payment later this year, you may need to contact the IRS to request a Payment Trace to track your payment.

The first scenario is when the IRS Get My Payment app says the agency sent the payment, but you never got it. In such a case, you need to request a Payment Trace if your check missed these timeframes, as per CNET:

  • If Get my Payment tool shows a deposit date of 5 days ago, but the amount still hasn’t shown up in your bank account.
  • If Get my Payment tool shows the IRS mailed your check 4 weeks ago.
  • If the IRS mailed your check 6 weeks ago and the local post office has a forwarding address on file.
  • If it’s been 9 weeks since the IRS mailed your check and you have a foreign address.

Another scenario in which you need to request a Payment Trace is when you got a letter from the IRS confirming your payment, but you never received the money. Normally, the agency sends a letter after 15 days to confirm the payment.

If you got this letter (called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment) but not the payment, then you need to request a Payment Trace. Also do keep the letter with you as it will help you to file your claim.

How to request a Payment Trace

To request a Payment Trace, you need to call the IRS at 800-919-9835. You can also mail or fax the IRS the Form 3911 (Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund). The IRS has provided the following instructions to fill out Form 3911:

  • You need to write “EIP” on top of the form.
  • You should complete all the refund questions.
  • When completing item 7 under Section 1, you need to tick the box for “individual” as the type of return, the tax period would be “2020,” the Date Filed column needs to be left blank, and sign the form (both spouses need to sign the form if you file jointly).

 

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Trump revived Andrew Jackson’s spoils system, which would undo America’s 138-year-old professional civil service

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A picture of Andrew Jackson hung in the Oval Office during Trump’s tenure. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The federal government’s core civilian workforce has long been known for its professionalism. About 2.1 million nonpartisan career officials provide essential public services in such diverse areas as agriculture, national parks, defense, homeland security, environmental protection and veterans affairs.

To get the vast majority of these “competitive service” jobs – which are protected from easy firing – federal employees must demonstrate achievement in job-specific knowledge, skills and abilities superior to other applicants and, in some cases, pass an exam. In other words, the civil service is designed to be “merit-based.”

It wasn’t always so.

From Andrew Jackson until Theodore Roosevelt, much of the federal workforce was subject to change after every presidential election – and often did. Known as the spoils system, this pattern of political patronage, in which officeholders award allies with jobs in return for support, began to end in the late 19th century as citizens and politicians like Roosevelt grew fed up with its corruption, incompetence and inefficiency – and its role in the assassination of a president.

Less than two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump signed an executive order that threatens to return the U.S. to a spoils system in which a large share of the federal government’s workforce could be fired for little or no reason – including a perceived lack of loyalty to the president.

While President Joe Biden appears likely to reverse the order, its effects may not be so easily undone. And he may have his own reasons for keeping it temporarily in place.

An old picture shows a crowd of people in front of the White House in 1829.
People seeking government jobs crashed the White House on the day of Andrew Jackson’s inauguration.
Library of Congress

Birth of the spoils system

The government of the early republic was small, but the issue of whether civil servants should be chosen on the basis of patronage or skills was hotly debated.

Although George Washington and the five presidents who followed him certainly employed patronage, they emphasized merit when making appointments.

Washington wrote that relying on one’s personal relationship to the applicant would constitute “an absolute bar to preferment” and wanted those “as in my judgment shall be the best qualified to discharge the functions of the departments to which they shall be appointed.” He would not even appoint his own soldiers to government positions if they lacked the necessary qualifications.

That changed in 1829 when Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, entered the White House.

An illustration of Andrew Jackson riding a horse on a statue with the words, 'To the victors belong the spoils,' while several men seeking jobs bow down to him.
Political cartoon by Thomas Nast depicts office seekers seeking jobs from Andrew Jackson.
Fotosearch/Getty Images

Jackson came to office as a reformer with a promise to end the dominance of elites and what he considered their corrupt policies. He believed that popular access to government jobs – and their frequent turnover through a four-year “rotation in office” – could serve ideals of democratic participation, regardless of one’s qualifications for a position.

As a result, at his inaugural reception on March 4, a huge crowd of office seekers crashed the reception. Jackson was “besieged by applicants” and “battalions of hopefuls,” all seeking government jobs.

Instead of preventing corruption from taking root, Jackson’s rotation policy became an opportunity for patronage – or rewarding supporters with the spoils of victory. He defended the practice by declaring: “If my personal friends are qualified and patriotic, why should I not be permitted to bestow a few offices on them?”

Besides possessing a lack of appropriate skills and commitment, office seekers were expected to pay “assessments” – a percentage of their salary ranging from 2% to 7% – to the party that appointed them.

Although Jackson replaced only about 10% of the federal workforce and 41% of presidential appointments, the practice increasingly became the norm as subsequent presidents fired as well as refused to reappoint ever-larger shares of the government.

The peak of the spoils system came under James Buchanan, who served from 1857 to 1861. He replaced virtually every federal worker at the end of their “rotation.” William L. Marcy, who was secretary of state under Buchanan’s predecessor and was the first to refer to patronage as “spoils,” wrote in 1857 that civil servants from his administration were being “hunted down like wild beasts.”

Even Abraham Lincoln, who followed Buchanan, made extensive use of the system,
replacing at least 1,457 of the 1,639 officials then subject to presidential appointment. The number would have been higher but for the secession of Southern states, which put some federal officials out of his reach.

A ‘vast public evil’ comes to an end

The tide began to turn in the late 1860s following public revelations that positions had been created requiring little or no work and other abuses, including illiterate appointees, and a congressional report about the success of civil service systems in Great Britain, China, France and Prussia.

In 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant asked Congress to take action, complaining, “The present system does not secure the best men, and often not even fit men, for public place.” Congress responded with legislation that authorized the president to use executive orders to prescribe regulations for the civil service. That power exists today, most recently exercised in Trump’s own order.

Grant established a Civil Service Commission that led to some reforms, but just two years later a hostile Congress cut off new funding, and Grant terminated the experiment in March 1875. The number of jobs potentially open to patronage continued to soar, doubling from 51,020 in 1871 to 100,020 in 1881.

But across the U.S., citizens were becoming disgusted by a government stuffed with the people known as “spoilsmen,” leading to a growing reform movement. The assassination of President James Garfield in 1881 by a deranged office seeker who felt Garfield had denied him the Paris diplomatic post he wanted pushed the movement over the edge.

Garfield’s murder was widely blamed on the spoils system. George William Curtis, editor of Harper’s Weekly and an advocate for reform, published cartoons lambasting the system and called it “a vast public evil.”

In early 1883, immediately after an election that led to sweeping gains for politicians in favor of reform, Congress passed the Pendleton Act. It created the Civil Service System of merit-based selection and promotion. The act banned “assessments,” implemented competitive exams and open competitions for jobs, and prevented civil servants from being fired for political reasons.

Donald Trump stands in front of a painting of former President Teddy Roosevelt in the White House.
Teddy Roosevelt helped end the spoils system.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Roosevelt was appointed to the new commission that oversaw the system by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889 and quickly became its driving force – even as Harrison himself abused the spoils system, replacing 43,823 out of 58,623 postmasters, for example.

At first, the system covered just 10.5% of the federal workforce, but it was gradually expanded to cover most workers. Under Roosevelt, who became president in 1901 after William McKinley was assassinated, the number of covered employees finally exceeded those not covered in 1904 and soon reached almost two-thirds of all federal jobs. At its peak in the 1950s, the competitive civil service covered almost 90% of federal employees.

New York, where Roosevelt was an assemblyman, and Massachusetts were the first states to implement their own civil service systems. Although all states now have such systems in place at local, state or both levels, it was not until after 1940 that most states adopted a competitive civil service.

A return to the spoils?

Trump’s executive order would mark a significant change.

The Oct. 21 order created a new category of the civil service workforce, known as “Schedule F,” which would include all currently protected employees in career positions that have a “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating character.” Because the language is both vague and encompassing, it may apply to as many as hundreds of thousands of the 2.1 million federal civilian workers – potentially to every worker who has any discretion in giving advice or making decisions.

The first agency to report a list of covered workers, the Office of Management and Budget, identified 425 professionals – 88% of its employees – as transferable to Schedule F, which means they could be fired at will.

Although the order didn’t formally take effect until Jan. 19, some agencies had already taken actions consistent with it – including an apparent “purge” of career employees deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump. But the Trump administration was unable to fully implement Schedule F before Biden took over on Jan. 20.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House on Jan. 20.
Will Biden make reversing the Trump order one of his early acts of office?
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Of course, Biden could quickly reverse the order – and there’s already a bipartisan push to forbid these transfers – but rehiring anyone who has been fired won’t be easy or immediate.

Furthermore, Trump had tried to “burrow” political appointees deep into the senior executive service, the top level of the civil service. The burrowing included the controversial appointment of Michael Ellis as general counsel of the National Security Agency. Senior executive service rules permit some political appointees to be converted to civil servants. This could protect them from easily being removed by Biden.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Biden may want to remove civil servants considered Trump loyalists who may try to subvert his policies. If so, he’ll have to keep the executive order in place to expedite the process and convert those employees to the new Schedule F classification, which would allow him to remove them. But keeping and using Schedule F, even for a relatively brief period, challenges the most fundamental principles of the civil service.

Trump’s order and Biden’s dilemma show that Teddy Roosevelt’s work is still unfinished. If, on a whim, a president can undo over a century of reforms, then the civil service remains insufficiently insulated from politics and patronage. It may be time Congress passed a new law that permanently shields one of America’s proudest achievements from becoming another dysfunctional part of the U.S. government.

The Conversation

Barry M. Mitnick does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Ethereum “Mega Whales” Grow In Numbers While “Mid-Tier” Whales Resolve to Profit-Booking

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After hitting a new all-time high of $1439 on Tuesday, January 19, Ethereum (ETH) continues to remain under pressure! At press time, the ETH price is 4.38% down trading at $1252 with its market cap slipping below $150 billion.

Despite strong on-chain fundamentals, the Ethereum price is failing to sustain crucial supports this is because the whale activity is getting pretty interesting at this point. Explaining the Ethereum Hodlers Distribution, on-chain data provider Santiment shows that mid-tier and smaller Ethereym whale addresses (100-10K ETH) have resolved to profit booking soon as the price approached a new all-time high.

On the other hand, whale addresses with over 10,000+ ETH continue to grow in numbers. It looks like the small players are losing their supplies to the big ones.

Courtesy: Santiment

Just like Bitcoin (BTC), the Ethereum (ETH) supplies at the exchanges have been reducing over the last few weeks. As per Glassnode, the Ethereum active supply has tanked significantly in recent times.

There’s been some buzz around institutional participation in Etheruem with the upcoming launch of CME Ether Futures after three weeks. Recently, the NYDIG CEO said that big institutions were only interested in Bitcoin. In a rebuttal, Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein said that although BTC remains the first choice of institutions there’s an increasing push with diversification, and yes ETH remains the choice of institutions.

Can Defi Help ETH Rally in 2021?

On Wednesday, Fundstrat analyst David Grider said that ETH can rally all the way to $10,500. Grider believes that the Ethereum 2.0 network upgrade and the DeFi expansion will help fuel this rally. Thus, he referred to Ether as the best risk/reward investment at this stage.

However, going against the popular belief that the Ethereum network will benefit the most from the DeFi wave, Ripple’s Head of DeFi Michael Zochowski says Ethereum “will continue to lose ground” due to slow Ethereum 2.0 developments. “I believe at least 25% of the value deployed in DeFi by the end of 2021 will be on networks other than Ethereum,” he added.

Interestingly, investor confidence in Ethereum continues to grow as the Ethereum 2.0 network now holds more than $3.6 billion worth of ETH in deposits contracts.

The post Ethereum “Mega Whales” Grow In Numbers While “Mid-Tier” Whales Resolve to Profit-Booking appeared first on Coingape.

Craig Wright Bullies Two Websites to Take Down Bitcoin Whitepaper, Bitcoin.org Refuses

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btcCraig Wright, the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator is now threatening to take two websites bitcoin.org and bitcoincore.org to court for copyright infringement if they didn’t remove the bitcoin white paper from their platforms. Wright is infamous for threatening lawsuits against people and company’s who have called him out for his absurd lies and in most cases where he did file a lawsuit, the verdict has been against him.

To refrain from engaging in a futile court battle the Bitcoin devs at Bitcoincore.org decided to remove the white paper, however, bitcoin.org has stood up to Wright saying they would continue hosting the Bitcoin white paper and take the matters to court if needed.

We will continue hosting the Bitcoin whitepaper and won’t be silenced or intimidated. Others hosting the whitepaper should follow our lead in resisting these false allegations.

Bitcoin.org put out a statement today regarding the Wright threat and said,

“Unfortunately, without consulting us, Bitcoin Core developers scrambled to remove the Bitcoin whitepaper from bitcoincore.org, in response to these allegations of copyright infringement, lending credence to these false claims. The Bitcoin Core website was modified to remove references to the whitepaper, their local copy of the whitepaper PDF was deleted, and with less than 2 hours of public review, this change was merged. By surrendering in this way, the Bitcoin Core project has lent ammunition to Bitcoin’s enemies, engaged in self-censorship, and compromised its integrity.”

Wright is a Habitual Liar

Craig Wright who also created BSV in a highly controversial 2018 BCH fork is a habitual liar and his only claim to fame is trying to portray himself as the creator of Bitcoin. He is also involved in a long-drawn court battle with the Keilman estate representing his former partner for the ownership of billions of bitcoin. The proceedings of the lawsuit have found Wright of fabricating evidence and lying under oath.

The last time he decided to go after an innocent trader who goes by the name of Hodlonaut for calling him out, the whole crypto industry decided to boycott h and many even delisted BSV from their platforms.

The bitcoin community has called for standing against Wright’s bully behavior especially Hodlonaut who was at the receiving end of Wright’s threats a couple of years ago.

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Bitcoin price breakdown targets $25,000 despite investor sentiment remaining positive

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  • Bitcoin slides under $33,000 risking a drop under $30,000, especially if the 50 SMA support fails to hold.
  • Grayscale Investment’s consistent purchase of Bitcoin goes unnoticed as the market falls.

Bitcoin is on the verge of a massive breakdown after losing a crucial support level. The pioneer cryptocurrency was rejected $38,000 again, opening the Pandora box. A gust of wind is swimming across the cryptocurrency market, mainly accentuated by BTC’s drop under $33,000.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is doddering at $32,800 amid the uphill battle to keep the price within the confines of the descending triangle pattern. If the buyer congestion at this level is dispersed, we can expect the price to explore lower levels; first at the 200 Simple Moving Average and perhaps the former support at $30,000.

The pessimistic outlook appears to have been validated by the Relative Strength Index’s freefall toward the oversold area. Similarly, more downside action will come into play if the 200 support fails to hold. Additionally, if investors start panic selling, the bearish leg is likely to overshoot the primary support at $28,000 and make an approach toward $25,000.

BTC/USD 4-hour chart

BTC/USD price chart
BTC/USD price chart by Tradingview

Investor sentiment has remained high despite Bitcoin’s retreat from $42,000 (an all-time high). This is evidenced by Grayscale Investments’ additional purchase of Bitcoin. The largest digital asset manager in the world has made two gigantic investments to its Bitcoin Trust in less than two weeks. In the first purchase, the company spent 509 million to buy BTC while in the second, it took advantage of the dip to $34,000, purchasing 8,000 more BTC.

The extend of the ongoing bull run is unknown but retracements are common in markets like these. Therefore, the dip could be an opportunity for investors to enter the market or increase their positions. However, it is advisable to wait for confirmation of a rebound before going all-in on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin intraday levels

Spot rate: $32,800

Relative change: -2,270

Percentage change: -8%

Trend: Bearish

Volatility: High

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BlackRock & Barclays Share Contrasting Views on Bitcoin (BTC), Institutional Game Gets Tough

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As Bitcoin (BTC) price continues to trade at a crucial junction, there’s a mix of views coming from institutions on Bitcoin. On Wednesday, January 20th, the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock filed with the U.S. SEC seeking exposure to bitcoin (BTC). On the other hand, Barclays clearly opposed the Bitcoin adoption among wealthy investor. BlackRock has filed Futures investment for two of its funds – the BlackRock Funds V and BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. The SEC filing submitted by BlackRock reads:

“Certain Funds may engage in futures contracts based on bitcoin” adding that A” Fund’s investment in bitcoin futures may involve illiquidity risk, as bitcoin futures are not as heavily traded as other futures given that the bitcoin futures market is relatively new.”

BlackRock has also clarified that its funds might invest in cash-settled Bitcoin futures that are traded on commodity exchanges registered with the CFTC. On one hand, when BlackRock is looking for an entry into Bitcoin (BTC), the Barclays Private Bank presents an absolutely contrasting view. Gerald Moser, chief market strategist at Barclays stated that Bitcoin isn’t a viable asset for heavyweight investors to hold in their portfolio. Mr. Moser said:

“While it is nigh on impossible to forecast an expected return for bitcoin, its volatility makes the asset almost ‘uninvestable’ from a portfolio perspective. With spikes in volatility that are multiples of that typically experienced by risk assets such as equities or oil, many would probably throw the cryptocurrency out of any portfolio in a typical mean-variance optimisation.”

Barclays is not the only institution opposing Bitcoin. Recently, wealth management giant UBS said that cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin can go to zero. However, the fact remains that billionaire investors like Paul Tudor Jones, Stanley Druckenmiller, Scott Minerd, and many others have endorsed investments into the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) which is a safe haven for institutions to gain exposure to Bitcoin has poured billions of dollars in aggressive Bitcoin purchases in recent times. Grayscale has revealed that a majority of inflows in GBTC are coming from institutions.

But, amid all the institutional frenzy around Bitcoin (BTC), lawmakers can play a spoilsport in the entire game putting a spanner in the wheel of ‘institutional Bitcoin buying’.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Nominee Calls for Curtailing Crypto, BTC Price Reacts

In recent times, just as Bitcoin continues to gain popularity among financial institutions, lawmakers have turned out to be more hostile towards it. On the day when the 46th U.S. President Joe Biden took the oath, former Fed chairperson and treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen called the need to “curtail” the use of cryptocurrencies.

Yellen said that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are mainly used for illegal activities like terror financing. This clearly suggests that the incoming Biden administration could be hostile to cryptocurrencies. “I think we really need to examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that money laundering doesn’t occur through those channels,” said Yellen.

Yellen’s comments come a week after ECB President Christine Lagarde slammed Bitcoin calling it a “funny business” and a “speculative asset”. Similarly, former IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan called Bitcoin “a classic bubble”.

With such disparity between the institutions and lawmakers, we can possibly see the two sections locking horns in near future.

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Bitcoin extends slide, heads for worst week since March 2020

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin fell heavily on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since last March, as worries over its technology and regulation extended a pullback from recent record highs. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency fell more than 5% to an almost three-week low of $28,800 in the Asia session, before steadying around $30,000. It has lost 15% so far this week, the biggest drop since a 33% fall in March. Traders said a report posted to Twitter by BitMEX Research https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1351855414103715842, suggesting that part of a bitcoin may …

Bitcoin (BTC) Under Biggest Liquidity Crisis In Years, Selling Onwards Could be Dangerous

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After consolidating a while between $35,000-$36,000, Bitcoin (BTC) continues to remain under pressure. Today, BTC has corrected another 3.5% and is trading at $34,567 levels at press time. While retail players might think of booking profits before it falls further, we would like to warn you that whales and institutions could be scooping your supply.

As per data by on-chain analytics platform Glassnode, Bitcoin is currently under the biggest liquidity crisis in years. There’s a massive withdrawal of funds at the exchanges and big players are here to swallow the supplies.

The latest information from Glassnode comes a day after we at CoinGape reported that the dormant BTC whale accounts are on the rise while traders have now resorted to profit-booking. On the other hand, the digital asset manager doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon on its Bitcoin acquisition spree.

Within 48-hours of Grayscale purchasing 16,000 Bitcoin for ~$600 million, Grayscale makes another purchase of over 8700 Bitcoins worth $305 million in the last 24-hours. Just over the last month, Grayscale purchased near to 65K Bitcoins pouring a whopping $2.2 billion in total. As per the latest update, the total assets under management of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), at the current BTC price, stand at $22.4 billion.

Bitcoin Volatility Low w.r.t. S&P 500

With the current scenario and Bitcoin (BTC) price under pressure, retails investors must be confused as to whether book profits or keep holding! Citing data from Bloomberg Intelligence, crypto analyst Dan Tapeiro points out that the Bitcoin relative volatility w.r.t the S&P 500 is pretty much low, the levels we saw during 2012 and 2016 before the previous bull runs.

Thus, Bitcoin could probably be just starting its journey for a massive rally ahead this year. “Bitcoin could 5-8x from here in 2021,” he adds.

Courtesy: Bloomberg Intelligence

In other news, while there’s have been continued speculations of Tether’s USDT dumping in recent times, analyst nic-Carter predicts (citing data from CoinMetrics) that USDC issuance could actually be leading to BTC price increase.

Leave your comments below on your Bitcoin price predictions going further in 2021.

The post Bitcoin (BTC) Under Biggest Liquidity Crisis In Years, Selling Onwards Could be Dangerous appeared first on Coingape.

Asian markets step back from stimulus-driven record highs

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By Swati Pandey SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares eased from record highs on Friday as investors took some money off the table after a recent rally that was driven by hopes a massive U.S. economic stimulus plan by incoming President Joe Biden will help temper the COVID-19 impact. “The markets had such a strong run yesterday after the presidential inauguration in the U.S. and the run-up to that, that the lead coming in from the U.S. is a bit messy,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at investment manager AMP Capital in Sydney. “A lot of the good news is out there. I suspect a fairly flat day.” M…

Ethereum stalls after record high but here is why Fundstrat analyst believes it is $10,500 token

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  • Ethereum’s short-term outlook is bearish, price could fall to $1,250 while seeking support above $1,200.
  • David Grider, says Ethereum growth to $10,500 will stem from the growing DeFi sector.

Ethereum majestically rose to new all-time highs at $1,446. However, the anticipated rally seems to have taken a step back with Ether first dropping to confirm support at $1,250. Recovery has been gradual over the last 24 hours but ETH is dancing at $1,380.

Slightly on the upside, the pioneer smart contract token is dealing with the resistance at the ascending channel’s middle boundary. Bearish momentum appears to be building under this level. Ether’s short term technical picture looks ready to drop for another support confirmation before any significant recovery comes into the picture.

A glance at the Relative Strength Index hints at the bearish grip continuing to get stronger in the near-term. The RSI was recently rejected at the overbought area while at the same time recovery from a dip under the midline is struggling below 60. Moreover, the attempt to break from the RSI’s bearish divergence failed to catch momentum, thus adding credibility to the downtrend.

ETH/USD 4-hour chart

7:19 AM

ETH/USD price chart
ETH/USD price chart by Tradingview

Despite the pessimistic outlook, David Grider, an analyst from Fundstrat Global Advisors, believes that Ethereum has what it takes to rise to $10,500 by the end of 2021. Grider’s prediction finds backing from the growing decentralized finance sector, which mainly runs on Ethereum. He reckons that “blockchain computing may be the future of the cloud.” In his opinion, Ethereum currently is “the best risk/reward investment play in crypto.”

The main focus for Ethereum is to complete the development of ETH 2.0 which will see it fully execute on the Proof-of-Stake consensus. A high transaction throughput coupled with the sharding technology for scaling with ensure that Ethereum remains the go-to platform for smart contract building. All these increase the platform’s utility and will eventually trickle down to the growth in the token’s value, perhaps towards $10,500.

Ethereum intraday levels

Spot rate: $1,332

Relative change: -45

Percentage change: -3%

Trend: Bearish

Volatility: Low

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Coinbase Custody Lists Ankr [$ANKR], Price of ANKR Token Soars by 30% in last 24 hrs

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CoinbaseCoinbase custody today listed Web 3.0 enablement platform Ankr’s native $ANKR token. The news has already pumped the ANKR price by 38% in last 24 hrs with ANKR trading at $0.013.

ANKR/USDT Price Soars by more than 38% While ANR/BTC Gains 40%

As soon as the ANKR listing at Coinbase news broke the ANKR token price saw a rise in both ANKR/USDT as well as ANKR/BTC pairs. At the time of reporting the ANKR/USDT was trading at $0.013 and reaching a new high of $0.014. ANKR is already listed at major cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance.

The 24 hr trading volume for ANKR token also saw a spike with a rise of more than 600% and trading volume of $75,645,681.57 in last 24 hrs.

Ankr is creating infrastructure platform for enabling web 3,0 services for service providers and end users. The top exchanges for trading in Ankr are currently Binance, Huobi Global, HBTC, Bidesk, and CoinTiger.

The post Coinbase Custody Lists Ankr [$ANKR], Price of ANKR Token Soars by 30% in last 24 hrs appeared first on Coingape.

Biden Inaugural Confronts the Jan. 6 Riot Head-On, Calls for an End to “This Uncivil War”

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It’s become a ProPublica tradition for our president, Richard Tofel, who wrote a book on President Kennedy’s inaugural address, to offer an instant analysis of such speeches. Here are his thoughts for today.

If President Joe Biden’s inaugural address was drafted more than two weeks ago, it was certainly rewritten after the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Biden’s setting of the scene as “our winter of peril and significant possibilities” may have been the speech’s original theme, but its more stark call for an end to “this uncivil war” was surely more recent.

The predecessor most on Biden’s mind on this historic occasion was clearly Abraham Lincoln, and the moment was not Lincoln’s second inaugural prophecy at the Civil War’s end, but his desperate pleas to avoid it (“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”) at its beginning. Biden quoted Lincoln twice, once from the moment of his signing the Emancipation Proclamation, once from his eulogy at Gettysburg eight months later referring to those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” in the nation’s service.

Lincoln was not the only president on whom Biden drew. In this speech — an extended call for unity — the new president hearkened to a tradition first and most memorably encapsulated in Jefferson’s declaration, at his first inaugural, that “we are all republicans, we are all federalists.”

But Jefferson had followed his assertion of bipartisanship with a sentiment that Biden, after the insurrection two weeks earlier, would not echo: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” Biden, instead, insisted that “disagreement must not lead to disunion.”

And he minced no words about where the threat comes from: “political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism.” Having thus made clear his belief that race was central to the events of Jan. 6, and implicitly to much of Trumpism, Biden offered no quarter on racial equality. “A cry for racial justice 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” he said.

While that may be nonnegotiable, Biden pleaded repeatedly and directly with the American people for unity even without consensus. A politician for more than a half century, he asserted that “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path.” He asserted that this was not a “foolish fantasy,” and seemed to recognize that his appeal will fall on some deaf ears. Yet he seems genuinely to believe that there may be “enough of us” for some restoration of civility to be possible. While no one ever wants to quote former President Richard Nixon, he essentially repeated the call in Nixon’s inaugural, after the upheavals of 1968, to “lower our voices.”

A man of obvious and deep faith, Biden invoked St. Augustine and a recourse to the “common objects of our love.” And where the inaugurals of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and the first George Bush had offered their own handcrafted prayers, Biden led a silent prayer for the 400,000 dead of the pandemic, clearly in the hope that in this the nation might find common ground.

Among the only harsh words in the address came when Biden drew a hard line against what defenders of the previous inaugural at first called “alternative facts.” In this, he was biting: “There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and profit.”

It had always seemed likely that Biden would break a tradition extending back seven presidents, to Jimmy Carter in 1977, of thanking his predecessor. Even former President Donald Trump had observed this, citing both Barack and Michelle Obama “for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.” Biden clearly couldn’t say that, and didn’t. Instead, he thanked his predecessors, Presidents Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama, for their presence, while saluting the fragile and absent Carter, now aged 96.

Beyond the completely unexpected, the great challenge for President Biden, as today made even more clear, is whether his belief that there are indeed “enough of us” willing to abjure “uncivil war” or worse will prove sound, or whether too many will join the previous president in simply absenting themselves from our common endeavors, or worse.

Pando Coin (PANDO) of the Pando Ecosystem Officially Listed on Bittrex

Pando Coin (PANDO), the ERC-20 utility token of the Pando Ecosystem comprising Pando Browser, has been listed on Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, a press release on Jan 15 reveals.

The Pando Browser

PANDO is already listed at the MXC Exchange, where it is paired against Tether (USDT). 

The token is based on the Pando Browser. The browser has in-built ad blocking capabilities and a free virtual private network (VPN).

It is a Web 3.0 browser with IPFS integration that the global company uses to realize its vision of a transparent internet that doesn’t relegate convenience and accessibility. 

Besides its focus on privacy, security, and flexibility, it has also integrated data management tools. 

For user convenience, there is an in-built wallet in the Pando browser. With this, holders of PANDO can send and receive funds. 

According to Google Store data, Pando Browser has been downloaded over 100k times. 

PANDO Mining and Tokenomics

The Pando Browser uses the Proof-of-Software (PoSW) mining consensus for minting PANDO and distributing rewards. 

There are two billion PANDO as total supply. Out of this, 1.4 billion will be distributed to users that participate in PoSW mining in the next decade. 

Pando Software’s South Korean developer team will allocate the remaining 600 million PANDO to marketing, research and development, and other protocol improvements as required.

Pando Software also introduced halving, adopting the same model as Bitcoin. Every two years, rewards earned will be halved. On average, a maximum of 1,003,584 PANDO tokens is minted every day. 

There are a variety of ways through which users can receive the token. Depending on their login sessions, referral activity, and ad-watching, PANDO tokens can be distributed to users. This is possible because PoSW builds a network for node operations based on the operating system, mileages, and opt-in advertisement view time for reward distribution.

Watching Pando Browser advertisements is optional. Depending on the surfer’s needs, they can opt-out.

Pando Software Plans to List at NASDAQ

Jung Sang-Hun, the CEO of Pando Software, has said they plan to list the firm in the United States bourse, NASDAQ. 

Through strategic partnerships and acquisition, they will, in the immediate term, aim to grow through product maximization and improvement of their brand visibility. 

By acquiring a listed company in South Korea, they will open up an office in New York as they prepare for listing. 

Pando Software’s decision to focus on the United States is when Binance, one of the largest global exchanges by users, exited the South Korean market citing low participation and liquidity. 

Commenting, Jung said:

“We plan to use the Pando browser to focus not only on domestic services but also on overseas services. All employees are working following the 2021 Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information Act (special law). At present, Seoul and Busan are only considering the cities of Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju, Ulsan, and Pohang so that they can directly operate offline subscription counters.”

Adding,

“We will gradually expand the unlimited range based on the Pando browser and use the platforms of Pando Software’s subsidiaries to become a company that challenges the new normal.”

Partnership with Pando Entertainment and DeFi Focus

Besides Pando Browser, Pando Software collaborated with Pando Entertainment plans to launch several products, including a decentralized exchange, Panex Exchange, and entertainment-oriented services. 

The beta version of Pando Entertainment’s Pan Music was launched in December. However, they plan to launch the final version in February 2021. Pan Music is a music payment platform that sources copyright free sounds reducing costs.

Integrated within the Pando Wallet is the Panex Exchange that supports token swapping. The decentralized swapping protocol is modeled to function as a bank rather than a listing service to facilitate DeFi and the launch of reward programs. 

According to a BTC PEERS report, DeFi is one of the fastest-growing subsets in cryptocurrency, whose tokens are now being considered by some investors. Coinbase, the San Francisco-based exchange, said it planned to list 18 DeFi governance tokens causing their prices to rise. 

In the future, the Pando development team, as per their white paper, plans to activate services like gaming, staking, and dApp launching.

VeChain (VET) posts a new all-time high: What’s next?

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vechain coin

VeChain (VET) has broken the pivotal point and pushed towards creating new all-time highs as an influx of VET buyers came into the market. While the cryptocurrency was in price discovery mode for some time, it fell just below its ATH level and struggles to break above it again.

Fundamental analysis: VeChain – today’s top beneficiary of the altcoin season

VeChain (VET) is a blockchain-powered supply chain platform that got created in 2015 and launched in mid-2016. VeChain’s goal is to use distributed governance and Internet of Things technology to create an ecosystem that solves some of the problems in the supply chain management sector. The idea is to boost its efficiency, traceability, as well as transparency, all while reducing costs and giving more control to individual users. VeChain is created and co-founded by Sunny Lu, an IT executive that formerly worked as CIO of Louis Vuitton China.

VeChain’s outlook is extremely bullish, especially after entering price discovery territory today. While the cryptocurrency did introduce a couple of updates to its protocol in the past week, its upside trajectory is mostly caused by the up-and-coming altcoin season. Looking at its weekly performance, VET has posted gains 16.64%, outperforming BTC’s loss of 1.59%, but falling short of ETH’s 21.14% gains.

At the time of writing, VeChain is trading for $0.0331, representing a 65.49% month-over-month gain. VeChain is currently the 20th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with the current value sitting at $2.14 billion.

VET/USD technical analysis: new all-time highs on the horizon?

VeChain was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the altcoin season today, as it somehow managed to push towards and create new all-time highs despite the market moving either sideways or dipping slightly. This move is a result of VET moving up and constantly touching the 21-day moving average to find support. The cryptocurrency made a strong push towards the upside today as volume increased, creating a new all-time high level of $0.0342.

VeChain has found strong support in its 21-day EMA as well as its 50-day EMA. On the other hand, its upside is fairly unknown as the levels above $0.0342 are unknown. Still, we may draw some possible price levels with Fib retracements.

VET/USD daily chart

VeChain’s daily RSI has been hovering around the overbought territory for some time, but the latest push towards the upside pushed it more towards being overbought. Its current value is sitting at 67.22.

VET/USD 1-hour chart

If we zoom in to VeChain’s hourly overview, we can see how important the 21-hour and 50-hour EMAs are for this cryptocurrency throughout time. An important thing to note is a sudden break from the decreasing volume pattern, which is a good indicator of a possible move. If the volume continues being high, we may expect VeChain bulls to push its price to new all-time highs.

The post VeChain (VET) posts a new all-time high: What’s next? appeared first on Invezz.

Ripple Price Uptrend In Jeopardy If It Slices Under This Crucial Resistance

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Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Ripple

  • Ripple has officially been delisted from Coinbase, thus reducing the buying pressure behind the token.
  • XRP risks freefall to $0.25 if support at the 50 SMA and the 100 SMA fails to hold.

Ripple’s potential uptrend to $0.4 a recently discussed, was sabotaged after Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, officially delisted it from its trading platforms. The purge from the United States leading digital exchange comes barely a month after the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ripple Labs Inc. and its top executives.

At the time of writing, XRP is dancing at $0.289 after losing some ground from its weekly high at $0.33. It appears that the failure to break the hurdle at the 200 Simple Moving Average must have armored the bears, who are still eager to push the price back to the drawing board at $0.25 and $0.2, respectively.

Meanwhile, the bulls are working tooth and nail to hold the confluence support provided by the 50 SMA and the 100 SMA on the 4-hour chart. To sustain the uptrend and, more importantly, to avert potential declines, Ripple must hold at this crucial level.

XRP/USD 4-hour chart

XRP/USD price chart
XRP/USD price chart by Tradingview

On the downside, support at $0.25 may be tested, and if it gives in, the cross border token is most likely to extend the bearish leg to $0.2. It is worth noting that the pessimistic outlook seems to have been validated by the Relative Strength Index bearish divergence.

The 4-hour chart shows the RSI breaking away from the price, suggesting that buying pressure and volume decrease. In other words, bears are preparing to regain control even as buyers struggle to hold onto the uptrend.

On the flip side, bulls will avoid declines if they ensure that the confluence support is protected. The anchor will allow buyers to focus on the price action beyond $0.3, while gains above the 200 SMA may validate the spike to $0.4.

Ripple intraday levels

Spot rate: $0.289

Relative change: -0.002

Percentage change: -0.7%

Trend: bearish

Volatility: Low

The post Ripple Price Uptrend In Jeopardy If It Slices Under This Crucial Resistance appeared first on Coingape.

Tether Shenanigans: A Response On Bitcoin

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Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Tether shenanigans, a response on bitcoin; Pulling the Plug on this Fool-Cell Maker; Jack Ma’s hostage video. Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Tether Shenanigans: A Response On Bitcoin1) One of the reasons I started writing my investing e-mails two decades ago is because I learn so much from my readers. Sometimes, I consider myself an expert on the things I’m writing about… but other times, I toss out ideas or articles I’m noodling with to see what kind of response I get. A good example of the latter was Tuesday’s e-mail, where I…

Janet Yellen Wants To Crack Down On Cryptocurrencies

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janet yellen cryptocurrencies

Janet Yellen described cryptocurrencies as “a particular concern” when she spoke to the Senate Finance Committee about her expected nomination as Treasury Secretary. She called on lawmakers to crack down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because she believes they are mostly used to finance illegal activities such as terrorism.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Janet Yellen calls on lawmakers to “curtail” cryptocurrencies

According to Business Insider, Janet Yellen said lawmakers should “curtail” the use of cryptocurrencies because they are “mainly” used for “illicit financing.” Her comments suggest the Joe Biden administration could crack down hard on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

On Tuesday, Sen. Maggie Hassan questioned Janet Yellen about how dangerous it is for terrorists to use cryptocurrencies to fund their activities. The Treasury Secretary nominee said she is “absolutely right that the technologies to accomplish this change over time.” She added that they must ensure that their “methods for dealing with these matters, with terrorist financing, change along with changing technology.”

While Yellen’s remarks on cryptocurrencies are a cause for concern, Fortune notes that another Biden nominee could end up championing them. Gary Gensler, who is set to become commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has taught courses on cryptocurrencies at MIT.

Janet Yellen’s track record on cryptocurrencies

“Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern,” Yellen said. “I think many are used—at least in a transaction sense—mainly for illicit financing.”

She also said lawmakers should look for ways to curtail the use of cryptocurrencies and “make sure that money laundering doesn’t occur through those channels.”

Coindesk notes that when Janet Yellen was chairperson of the Federal Reserve, she said she didn’t want to over-regulate cryptocurrencies. She also dismissed bitcoin at different points while she was with the regulator and right after she got out of office.

When Yellen becomes Treasury secretary, she will oversee various proposed regulations through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. One of those rules would require crypto exchanges to keep counterparty data on un-hosted wallets. Sen. Ron Wyden hopes Congress will confirm Yellen as Treasury secretary tomorrow.

Interest in bitcoin remains high

Yellen’s remarks on cryptocurrencies come as interest in bitcoin remains high. The bitcoin price pulled back slightly after she spoke, but it remains above $34,000. Yellen’s comments also indicate that she is ready to spend big to support the economy, which means investors will be even more concerned about inflation.

Bitcoin has become popular as a hedge against inflation because it can’t be debased as fiat currencies can.

 

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