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$4 Billion Bitcoin Money Laundering Scheme Sees First Indictment by U.S. Jury

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Controversy has swept the bitcoin community after a Russian man was indicted by a U.S. jury for using digital currency to launder more than $4 billion for criminal networks.

Russian “Mastermind” Apprehended

Alexander Vinnik – the alleged “mastermind” behind the money laundering scheme – was arrested in a small village in northern Greece on Tuesday following an investigation led by the U.S. Department of Justice. Just 24 hours later, the Russian national was indicted by a U.S. jury as being the operator of BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange used to launder money for drug traffickers and cyber criminals.

Reuters reports that the website Vinnik was running had “7 million bitcoins deposited, and 5.5 million bitcoins in withdrawals.”

Vinnik has been on the U.S. Ministry of Justice watch list since 2011. Authorities have also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, whose collapse in 2014 raised fears about the imminent demise of the cryptocurrency system.

Also Read: Alleged BTC-E Admin Arrested for Laundering $4 Billion in Bitcoin

Cyber Crime: Bitcoin’s Enduring Legacy

Although bitcoin’s image in the mainstream has improved over the past three years, some of its detractors view it as nothing more than a conduit for illegal activity, with money laundering being only one example. The federal take-down of Silk Road in 2013 highlighted the extent to which cryptocurrency was being used to evade the authorities.

In 2016, a high-profile breach of Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex also shone negative spotlight on the crpytocurrency market, raising concerns about a lack of insurance protocols.

Bitcoin Prices Stable

The indictment of Vinnik had little impact on the cryptocurrency market, with bitcoin prices trading around 2,675.00, according to Bitstamp. That represents a gain of 2%. Prices fluctuated between $2,550.00 and $2,601.00 during the Asian session.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 697 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Crypto Update: Bear Market Lows in Jeopardy After Latest Failed Bounce

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The cryptocurrency segment switched directions yet again, as, after a weak bounce on Wednesday, the major coins are headed back towards their recent bear market lows today. While the losses are not significant, for now, given the bearish long-term picture and the vicinity of the lows, another leg lower in the downtrend could soon begin, despite the deeply oversold long-term momentum readings.

The majors are all in the red amid the broad selloff and only a few of the battered altcoins are showing some relative strength in the face of the apparent selling pressure. The total value of the market is back below $110 billion, and a dip below the $100 billion mark is possible as soon as the coming days, with Bitcoin being among the weakest top coins in the past few days.

Volatility has been steadily decreasing ever since last week’s breakdown, but we expect trading activity to pick up somewhat ahead of the weekend, and traders should remain cautious here given the still broadly negative technicals.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin is trading just above its recent lows despite yesterday’s rally attempt, and the coin is showing relative weakness hinting on an imminent test of the lows. That said, with the long-term momentum readings clearly being oversold, we could still be in for a larger scale bounce in the coming weeks, but traders should wait for signs of short-term strength before entering new positions.

Our trend model remains on sell signals on both time-frames, with strong resistance levels zones ahead near $3600 and between $4000 and $4050, and with key long-term support found near the $3000 level.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum is still stuck below the key $95-$100 zone as yesterday’s bounce faded but the coin is trading above its bear market low, performing in line with Bitcoin and the majority of the segment. ETH is still in short- and long-term downtrends, and our trend model is on sell signals on both time-frames as well, despite eh oversold long-term picture.

Odds still favor a move towards the next key support zone between $73 and $75, and traders and investors shouldn’t enter positions here, with further strong resistance zones ahead near $120 and $130.

Altcoins Drift Lower Across the Board

IOTA/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

We are still not seeing signs of meaningful relative strength even among the smaller altcoins, as although some of the most oversold currencies are, in fact, holding up well above their recent lows. IOTA is still a prime example of the long-term weakness, as it got stuck below the resistance zone surrounding the $0.24 price level despite the recent bounce attempts, while also remaining in a clear broader downtrend. For now, the prior low just above $0.20 is safe, but new lows are still likely in the coming weeks.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple has been trading with very low volatility in the last couple of days, hovering around the $0.30 level. The coin failed to show relative strength amid the bounce attempts, and break below last week’s lows and a test of the bear market low near $0.26 still seems likely, with the sell signals being in place in our trend model on both time-frames.  XRP faces strong resistance near $0.32, $0.3550, and $0.3750, while primary support is found at $0.28

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 415 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Bitcoin

Pessimism Spreads and Blocks Out Opportunities for Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum

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  • BTC/USD is in a key technical scenario.
  • The dominant pessimism is likely to turn upside down.
  • ETH/USD rejects leadership again and the market languishes.

The weekend is approaching without significant changes among the main protagonists of the Crypto board. I am reviewing the dominant emotional state in social networks and pessimism rules. The gloom sets an optimal atmosphere for a change in the direction of the market.

Extreme pessimism is the antagonist of the blind euphoria we saw exactly a year ago. This melancholy crushes the psyche of the HOLDers, but should not do so in the minds of traders. For a trader, the direction of the market must be secondary.

This extremely depressing environment covers with anxiety the ability to look at the market and make the right decisions. The task of an analyst is to provide a clear picture of the current scenario that will help investors in the process of managing their portfolios.

Seeking to offer this service, today I will analyze the graphs of Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum represented in logarithmic scale. This type of representation helps analyze very volatile assets with wide ranges.

BTC/USD Daily Logarithmic Chart

BTC/USD trades at the price level of $3,362. The price has reached the trend line that governs the movement of the BTC/USD for years, and therefore we are facing a decisive moment. We can see if we review the graph. In recent years the price of Bitcoin has moved below the line on several occasions, to return to rising above it again.

Below the current price, the first support level is at $3,275 (price congestion support and very long-term uptrend line). The second support level is at $3,177 (long-term bearish trend line). The third support level is at $2,890 (price congestion support). Regarding this third level of support, I find it very improbable that it can be reached in the next few days because it would take an extraordinary sales force to break the two intermediate supports.

Above the current price, the first serious resistance level is at $3,925 (price congestion resistance). The second resistance level is at $4,390 (price congestion resistance). The third resistance level is at $4,693 (EMA50), a critical level from which we could start to speak of an upward turn.

The MACD in the daily range shows a perfect profile for an upward movement. After moving to extreme harmful levels, it draws a bullish divergence and crosses over to the upside. It is bullish according to the manuals, but the current situation can generate even more extreme movements.

The DMI in the daily range shows the bulls increasing their activity since the arrival of the price to the current zone. It is, therefore, a shopping area. The bears, on the opposite, should think the same as they have been decreasing their strength to approach the current levels.

XRP/USD Daily Logarithmic Chart

XRP/USD is currently trading at the $0.306 price level after failing to conquer the first resistance level at $0.32 yesterday. After this failed attempt the XRP/USD came down for support at the $0.30 price level and found it. These are now the warning levels for this pair.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is $0.32 (price congestion resistance). The second resistance level is at $0.345 (price congestion resistance). The third resistance level is at $0.370 (price congestion resistance) and is very important if the XRP/USD beats it, which would allow an attack on the EMA50 at $0.394 and enter into a neutral scenario at least.

Below the current price, the first support level is $0.30 (price congestion support). The second support level is $0.271 (price congestion support). The third level of support is at $0.258 (price congestion support and annual lows).

The MACD in the daily range shows such a perfect bullish cross profile that I doubt it can be real and work. It is likely that we will see a downward rejection of this indicator in the next few days.

The DMI in the daily range shows us how neither bulls nor bears have changed their expectations when reaching this price range. The ADX shows a loss of trend strength in the last few sessions.

ETH/USD Daily Logarithmic Chart

The ETH/USD trades at the $89.3 price level. Yesterday it tried to breach the $95 resistance level but failed. The Ethereum has all the attention on it for his condition of the leader in bull markets and his current weakness worries analysts.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is at $95 (price congestion resistance). The second resistance level is at $125 (price congestion resistance). The third resistance level is at $144 (EMA50).

Below the current price, the first support level is at $80.5 (price congestion support). The second support level is at $69 (price congestion support). The third level of support is at $53 (price congestion support).

The MACD in the daily range also shows a bullish manual structure. I am amazed at the clarity of the structure when compared to the perceived pessimistic environment.

The DMI in the daily range shows bulls unconvinced of a possible upward change in the price path. The bears, for their part, have decreased a little in intensity but remain at very high levels.

To sum up the situation, if you have reached these levels without being pushed to sell, there is nothing right now to tell us that this market is irrecoverable — nothing to give us reasonable cause.

If you are thinking about buying, the levels are adequate not for the price but because the loss of any support level can give us the signal to execute stops and conserve capital to enter lower prices if we get to see them.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Bitcoin Price Holds Head Above Water as Bearish Pressure Subsides

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Bitcoin has declined slightly in the last 24 hours, but price action suggests that a deeper fall can be avoided for the time being as the market resumes its rangebound consolidation. Although the outlook remains firmly tilted to the downside, stable price action for the rest of the week could generate added support for the leading digital currency.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price touched an intraday low of $3,437.20 on Bitfinex and has since recovered near the $3,500 level. At the time of writing, BTC/USD was trading hands at $3,493.00 for a daily loss of 1.2%. The cryptocurrency was trading as high as $3,507 on HitBTC and as low as $3,389 on the U.S.-based Gemini exchange.

Aggregate data courtesy of CoinMarketCap show an average price of $3,436. Trade volumes have declined sharply in the latter half of the week, though BitMEX continued to process the largest share of transactions on virtual currency exchanges. Coinbit and CoinBene were the largest spot markets for BTC trades on Thursday, based on the latest available data.

At current values, bitcoin has a total market value of $59.9 billion; that represents nearly 55% of the overall cryptocurrency market cap.

Earlier this week, bitcoin appeared headed for new yearly lows as short sellers continued to drive price action. However, the market avoided a bigger fall mid-week, with bitcoin and its peers snapping a multi-session losing streak. For the time being, BTC/USD has found support just above $3,200 and appears poised to defend that level. As Hacked previously reported, a drop below $3,200 could generate sustained losses below the psychologically significant $3,000 region.

Slow Accumulation

Narrowing price action over the past two days may signal that the end of the bottoming process is near. However, short-sellers shouldn’t be discounted given the high level of turnover on BitMEX and other futures platforms. Futures contracts allow traders to profit on declines in the bitcoin price, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that these markets have been leading the selloff over the past five weeks.

That bitcoin may be nearing the end of its bottoming cycle was recently observed by Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital. In his view, as shared on CCN, major exchanges like Coinbase and Bitstamp have seen strong bids for BTC at the $3,300 level. This suggests investors are already re-stocking their shelves with bitcoin following the latest bear-market downturn.

“Buy walls” at $3,300, as he calls them, are now the largest since mid-2015 on both exchanges.

This view does not negate the overwhelmingly bearish trend that has taken root in the crypto market. This trend will almost assuredly bleed over into 2019 ahead of the launch of new institutional markets for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 697 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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