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Breaking: NY AG Alleges Bitcoin Exchange Misused Tether to Hide $850M

Breaking: NY AG Alleges Bitcoin Exchange Misused Tether to Hide $850M

Breaking: NY AG Alleges Bitcoin Exchange Misused Tether to Hide $850MBitfinex is accused of granting itself access to Tether’s treasury. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James has officially obtained a court order to request iFinex Inc, the operator of bitcoin exchange Bitfinex and Tether, to cease operations in New York.The Attorney General’s office found that Bitfinex allegedly handed over $850 million in co-mingled client and corporate funds to Crypto Capital Corp, a company based in Panama.Bitfinex is said to have never received the funds from the Panamanian firm, leading to the loss of more than $850 million.The Attorney General’s office alleged Bitfinex granted itself access to Tether’s treasury and mismanaged $900 million of the stablecoin’s cash reserves to “hide” the loss of $850 million.Attorney General James said:“Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘Tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds. New York state has led the way in requiring virtual currency businesses to operate according to the law. And we will continue to stand-up for investors and seek justice on their behalf when misled or cheated by any of these companies.”How Did It Happen?The core problem with Tether is that it does not issue public audits like strictly regulated stablecoins such as Gemini Dollar and Circle’s USDC. As a result, investors are unaware of what the potential “receivables” could be and the dealings of Tether.A public audit would have forced Tether to disclose the alleged $900 million transactions initiated by Bitfinex had it been recorded on the financials of Tether Limited.Stablecoin with reserve = COUNTERPARTY RISK https://t.co/5Qj2JMguT9— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) April 25, 2019However, after Bitfinex allegedly sent $850 million to Crypto Capital Corp and did not get it back, it did not disclose the loss to investors and relied on Tether, which the New York Attorney General described as a “cover-up.”The filings explain how Bitfinex no longer has access to more than $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds that it handed over, without any written contract or assurance, to a Panamanian entity called ‘Crypto Capital Corp.,’ a loss Bitfinex never disclosed to investors.  In order to fill the gap, executives of Bitfinex and Tether engaged in a series of conflicted corporate transactions whereby Bitfinex gave itself access to up to $900 million of Tether’s cash reserves, which Tether for years repeatedly told investors fully backed the tether virtual currency ‘1-to-1,’ the document read.Lack of Public Audits Has Always Been a Problem For TetherSince its creation in 2014, for more than five years, Tether has been a subject to consistent criticism from both investors and experts in the cryptocurrency sector for its lack of public audits.Last month, CCN spoke to iFinex, the company that oversees Tether, about its new Terms of Service which read that every USDT is backed by cash and other receivables, but not 100% in cash.“Every tether is always 100% backed by our reserves, which include traditional currency and cash equivalents and, from time to time, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties, which may include affiliated entities (collectively, “reserves”),” the altered Terms of Service read.Kasper Rasmussen, the director of marketing at iFinex, told CCN that Tether is still 100% backed even though it may include other assets.“Tethers remain completely stable and 100% backed, so Tether’s reserves always equal or exceed the number of issued Tethers. The only change is that the composition of the assets that provide that backing includes a combination of cash, cash equivalents, and may also include other assets or receivables from loans issued by Tether,” Rasmussen said.How Does It Affect Bitcoin?Immediately after the release of the New York Attorney General’s report, the bitcoin price fell below $5,400, indicating a dip in the confidence of the crypto market.Bitfinex Order by on Scribd About The AuthorJoseph YoungHong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.
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Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire InvestorBitcoin’s dominance will only be more pronounced in this bull market and that’ll show in its value, according to Mike Novogratz. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Mike Novogratz, the billionaire CEO of Galaxy Capital and a former hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group, believes alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, will be outperformed by bitcoin in the bull market.Not this time. Market getting smarter. $btc will outperform.— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) May 19, 2019The statement of Novogratz comes after the bitcoin price risen by more than 115 percent year-to-date against the U.S. dollar, leading the crypto market to add $124 billion to its valuation.Will bitcoin continue to outperform altcoins?Historically, altcoins have relied on the price trend of bitcoin and have rarely demonstrated independent price movements in extended time frames.Altcoins typically surge in value when the bitcoin price shows stability at a tight price range, leaving investors to take high-risk and high-return options over the dominant cryptocurrency.The optimism towards bitcoin, despite the emergence of sophisticated altcoins, is well founded due to the involvement of major financial institutions in the likes of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade building infrastructure on top of bitcoin.Fidelity and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, are initially launching custodial services for bitcoin, targeting institutional investors.According to TD Ameritrade’s executive vice president Steven Quirk, tens of thousands of clients at the brokerage already trade crypto assets in some capacity.But, traders suggest that if the sentiment around the crypto market remains overwhelmingly positive, investors will eventually explore alternative opportunities for high-return trades, which then may fuel a rally for altcoins.One cryptocurrency trader said that bitcoin is likely to climb further throughout 2019, triggering a healthy market for altcoins:The rest of this year will be characterized by rapid BTC advances, healthy corrections and periods of sideways price action, when altcoins will fly. Put that nonsense rhetoric about waiting for capitulation and still not making our bear market lows away. Wrong cycle.Full on degen altcoin season still on track for June. Next few weeks, as BTC finds a range, we’ll continue to see the popular altcoins bounce back 1st. In June, all altcoins across the board will bounce back hard. More disbelief on its way.The concern of some investors like Novogratz on the prospect of a booming market for altcoins is that many retail investors were hurt in the 2017 bull market taking high-risk trades, trading against stable assets like bitcoin.As the market matures and as investors in the market become smarter, Novogratz indicated that the appetite for altcoins could decline.The crypto market has added more than $100 billion to its valuation year-to-date (source: coinmarketcap.com)Similarly, Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said in November 2018:Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived. There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention.At the time, Sprecher emphasized that Bakkt, a futures market operator created by NYSE’s parent company ICE, will focus on building a regulated infrastructure for bitcoin first ahead of other assets.Sentiment is generally positiveOn May 17, as CCN reported, the bitcoin price plummeted by 18 percent within hours following an unexpected 5,000 BTC sell order on Bitstamp that led prices of bitcoin and ethereum to crash on BitMEX.The market absorbed the abrupt decline in the bitcoin price fairly well, indicating that the confidence in the near-term price trend of crypto assets remains strong.While investors have cautioned that bitcoin has shown oversold conditions in recent weeks as it surpassed key resistance levels, the momentum of the asset could prevent it facing a large correction some expect would occur in the near-term. About The AuthorJoseph YoungHong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
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Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase & Co. has taken another shot at Bitcoin, BTC claiming the cryptocurrency‘s latest rally has pushed its price beyond its “intrinsic value.”
“Over the past few days, the actual price has moved sharply over marginal cost,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note obtained by Bloomberg. “This divergence between actual and intrinsic values carries some echoes of the spike higher in late 2017, and at the time this divergence was resolved mostly by a reduction in actual prices.”

To come to this conclusion, the JP Morgan team treated Bitcoin as a commodity, calculating its “cost of production” based on a number of factors, including estimated computational power, electricity expense, and hardware energy efficiency.
“Defining an intrinsic or fair value for any cryptocurrency is clearly challenging,” the analysts continued. “Indeed, views range from some researchers arguing that it has no fundamental value, to others estimating fair values well in excess of current prices.”

Bitcoin‘s price briefly dropped from almost $8,000 to $7,050 on May 17, after $250 million of long positions got liquidated on BitMEX. Since then, BTC has surged back to $7,893 at the time of writing.
By now, JP Morgan has made a habit out of thrashing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Back in 2017, CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency a “fraud” – a statement he later softened, suggesting he simply doesn’t care about Bitcoin. Since then, JP Morgan launched its own blockchain-based “digital currency,” which was neither a cryptocurrency, nor a stablecoin.

Published May 20, 2019 — 11:54 UTC

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