Bank that Had Appetite for Drug Money Has None for Bitcoin

UK bank HSBC found itself under fire again, with commenters arguing that the bank which had appetite for drug money does not have appetite for bitcoin (BTC). After it had been fined for its involvement in facilitating money laundering by Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, HSBC’s recent move – allegedly banning the users of its online share trading platform from purchasing US-based software developer MicroStrategy stock – suggests its thirst for cash does not extend to the world’s number one crypto.

The story has been discussed for several days now, fuelled by unverified sources, but a message addressed to an HSBC InvestDirect client has now been reported on by Reuters as well – and it indicates that the bank does not want to facilitate transactions related to or referencing the performance of cryptocurrencies.

Per a picture shared online by Twitter account Camiam, the bank seemingly said it “has changed the policy on virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies)” and it “will not participate in facilitating (buy and/or exchange) product related to virtual currencies, or products related or referencing the performance of virtual currency.”

The message assured customers that it would allow them to hold, sell or transfer-out MicroStrategy stock on their InvestDirect accounts, but it would not permit any new purchases or transfers-in of the company’s shares.

MicroStrategy has positioned itself as one of the most bullish non-crypto businesses, embarking on a bitcoin shopping spree over the past months. Earlier this month, the company spent a further USD 15m on the cryptocurrency, buying BTC 253. As of April 5, MicroStrategy held a total of BTC 91,579 (USD 5.76bn).

Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)

Commenting on its new stance, HSBC said in a statement that it had “no appetite for direct exposure to virtual currencies and limited appetite to facilitate products or securities that derive their value from VCs (virtual currencies),” as reported by Reuters. The bank also said its policy towards crypto had been in place since 2018 and is kept under review, while it couldn’t immediately say which countries the ban applied to.

Meanwhile, crypto industry players were unimpressed by HSBC’s hardline policy, accusing the bank of discriminating bitcoin – while eagerly accepting funds from highly controversial sources.

Mentions of the bank’s involvement in drug money laundering schemes, a decision that cost HSBC some USD 1.92bn in fines, were a particularly popular reference among the crypto commentariat. HSBC agreed to pay this sum to US authorities in 2012, apologizing and acknowledging that it failed to maintain an effective program against money laundering, after Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel laundered USD 881m through HSBC and a Mexican unit, per the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

“[HSBC] was fined [USD] 1.8B for laundering cartel cash,” said Eric Meltzer, a founding partner at blockchain investment firm Primitive Ventures. “[HSBC] enlarged windows at certain Mexican branches to facilitate drop off of giant boxes of $ from cartel operatives. [The DOJ] report detailed a culture of abuse, coke, alcoholism and a complete disregard for the law. [D]isgusting.”

But another question arose online – what about other companies connected to crypto then, including giants like Tesla, which started accepting BTC payments, or Square, which invested millions in the cryptocurrency?

For example, Twitter user Chilipiper234 asked: “HSBC better take that cartel money, right? Do you also forbid your customers to buy Tesla or Square because they have Bitcoin on their balance sheet?”

That question is something the MicroStrategy legal department should look into, argued The Investor’s Podcast Network host Preston Pysh.

Read more: cryptonews

Where fiat holders lose out, Bitcoiners can gain from inflation

Currency instability and hyperinflation seemed unreal until a global pandemic struck, sending many nations into economic turmoil. Most economists began to wonder if the end of the pandemic would mean the birth of another Venezuela, which faced a 438% (hyper) inflation rate. However, like several other Bitcoin enthusiasts like Max Keiser thinks that inflation and the price of Bitcoin are correlated.

The aforementioned data is the long-term compounding of past, present, & possibly future base money, since 1970.

In a recent interview Matthew Mežinskis spoke about the inflation rate of the global monetary base, weighted averaged by each base money’s equivalent in USD. What’s important to note here is, it matched the overall 12.8% CAGR (6-year doubling time) we already saw above.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay
Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

For all of 2019, central banks were actually on track to deflate their currencies. This would have been a first in the modern fiat era. So interestingly, no matter what one argues for money printing, 2019 ended with positive inflation, weighted at 1.5%.

Furthermore, he touched upon the role of monetary metals like gold. Gold’s rate of growth had, in fact, been around 1.8% per annum for the last 170 years.

Almost similar with silver – it’s almost as politicized as its “bigger brother of gold”. Lastly, he shed some light on Bitcoin. He added:

“Remember why the overall compound growth, thus far, is so high, and why it will never be that high again. And now is about the time for a clarification note on the Bitcoin system’s compound annual growth rate, specifically.”

Bitcoin’s finite supply, which may overcome inflation risks is what comforts many. However, this narrative keeps evolving as well.

What’s interesting to note here is, the phrase “supply issuance” for Bitcoin’s chart titles, and not “inflation.” Bitcoin’s “inflation,” economically, was already baked in. As already demonstrated, its growth rate is known until 2141, per the protocol. So when it comes to bitcoins, “inflation” is not the best term.

Even though the price of Bitcoin may indeed surge, its path to the target could be volatile. In the past, the asset’s price has appreciated and even collapsed several times. But some stated that even as Bitcoin increased in price, the rate of inflation, and forecasts for inflation, “remained stable.” Some provide a contrary opinion that economies need a bit more inflation, not less. At the same time, they do not expect hyperinflation to occur again, after the last great recession.


TIME Magazine to Hold Bitcoin on Its Balance Sheet

According to an announcement made by Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein, TIME magazine has partnered with the leading cryptocurrency asset manager to release a video series centered around cryptocurrencies.

As part of the deal, the iconic publication has agreed to get paid in Bitcoin and hold the largest cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.

Last month, TIME published a job posting for a new chief financial officer (CFO) that requires “comfort” with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It also started selling its most famous covers as non-fungible tokens in March. As reported by U.Today, one of them (“The Computer in Society”) was purchased by Tron CEO Justin Sun for 117 ETH.

Read more: U TODAY

Here’s the metric that is influencing YFI and XRP’s prices

Altcoins like FIL have been offering 10x in returns to HODLers and retail traders. In fact, many alts are making a comeback partially due to increased concentration by large HODLers and increased liquidity. For a long time, Bitcoin’s rangebound price action below $60,000 also contributed to the alt rally in the market.

With the crypto less than 4% away from its ATH at press time, Bitcoin’s price action may soon follow the trend into the weekend, allowing altcoins to rally. Though analysts may argue that Bitcoin is no longer in the buy zone, several altcoins that offered double-digit returns are currently being accumulated by large HODLers based on on-chain analysis from CoinMarketCap.

What’s more, BTC’s price action has triggered a bullish trend in top altcoins like YFI, XRP, DOT, and ADA. YFI’s price, for instance, was 33% below its ATH, with the alt well within its buy zone. Now, YFI’s rank may have dropped to 76th on CoinMarketCap’s list, however, it is anticipated that there will be a rise in the price of the token soon. Concentration by large HODLers is driving the price higher, and historically, it has.

Currently, the concentration by large HODLers is 89% in YFI. Of the same, over 75% of HODLers have held YFI for less than 12 months. Despite this composition, 68% of HODLers were profitable at the press time price level, even though the sentiment among traders was neutral. Large HODLers are contributing to the price rally by contributing to the rising transaction volume. Despite a significant drop in large transactions, over 7.75% in the last 24 hours, over $793 million worth of transactions occurred on the YFI network over the past week. In fact, the alt’s price has risen by 8% in the last 30 days.

Besides YFI, there are other altcoins like DOT, ADA, and XRP that have similar narratives as YFI, with differences in trade volume growth. Value locked in YFI is similar to traders’ sentiment and the anticipation of a price hike in the future was observed to be on a similar level. It is likely that a change in the volume of transactions may have a direct impact on the price rally since shorting these alts may currently be more profitable than buying low and selling high.

On the contrary, the strategy of buying low and selling high may not be the ideal way to make the most of the price trend of YFI, XRP, DOT, and ADA. Based on the analysis of the historical performance of top market capitalization coins like Bitcoin and altcoins like Ethereum, BNB, ETH, and ADA have suffered a negative impact on their prices.

XRP, especially, is worth looking at since it has remained largely rangebound over the past week. In fact, even though the price trend hasn’t changed, XRP has remained largely rangebound below $0.60. Something similar could be seen when the prices of ADA and DOT are taken into account. The impact on price is positive and it is likely to continue increasing if this price action continues in XRP as well.

Read more: AMB CRYPTO

Crypto Influencer Ben Armstrong: These 3 NFT Coins Have ‘100X Potential’

Crypto trader Ben Armstrong says three non-fungible token (NFT) coins could go up 100X in the coming year.

In a recent interview with Carl Martin, Armstrong explained his method for selecting NFT coins, focusing on the projects that gain the most attention. The popular trader said he was keeping an eye on the decentralized video game and entertainment platform WorldWide Asset eXchange (WAX).

Armstrong said:

This is a project that everything they launch is successful. Every single game that WAX itself – not the blockchain – but the company WAX that’s behind the blockchain, everything they launch does phenomenally. So I think there’s still a lot of opportunity with WAX.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Armstrong was also bullish on the Ethereum-based virtual real estate world Sandbox (SAND). He told investors not to sleep on Sandbox and predicted the project could explode in the virtual real estate space to rival Decentraland.

Armstrong rounded out his top selections with the blockchain-based gaming platform Enjin (ENJ). He hinted at having inside information on the project’s development and called it a “behemoth” in the space of crypto gaming.

He continued:

Enjin is the leader in gaming and NFTs and I don’t see that changing. I actually got some inside scoops on stuff Enjin is doing on the backend with some more stuff coming down in the pipeline and it’s really exciting. I’d say definitely wait for a dip on that one. You definitely want exposure to Enjin.


Bitcoin to Become the Global Reserve Asset, Says Bloomberg

Bloomberg outlined in a recent report the main drivers that could push Bitcoin to $400,000.

A new report suggests that Bitcoin’s fundamental and technical values are improving despite its recent lackluster price action.

Bitcoin’s Mainstream Adoption Accelerates
Bloomberg released a new edition of its monthly cryptocurrency outlook report, titled “Rising Bitcoin Adoption Tide.” The financial media giant evaluates the different factors contributing to the increasing demand for BTC and provides a forecast to see where the leading cryptocurrency is heading next.

Notably, the study is overwhelmingly bullish, citing a paradigm shift favoring the pioneer cryptocurrency in replacing gold as the “global digital-reserve asset.”

Bitcoin (Image: Antana/CCBY-SA2)
Bitcoin (Image: Antana/CCBY-SA2)

According to Bloomberg, Bitcoin has built a price floor at $50,000 while the overhead resistance around $60,000 has been weakening over time. The firm expects prices to slice through this hurdle and advance higher over the next few months after the ongoing consolidation period.

But in the event of a sell-off, the 20-week moving average at $40,000 is seen as the most “extreme downside risk.”

One of the key factors cited in the report that supports the bullish narrative was Tesla’s bold move to allocate some of its wealth into Bitcoin.

Bloomberg refers to such development as an “inflection point” that may encourage other firms to diversify into the digital asset. Now, there is a higher probability that BTC migrates into traditional investment portfolios because of “the risks of missing out on the potential for Bitcoin becoming the global benchmark digital asset.”

In essence, BTC’s fundamental and technical underpinnings are improving, making a solid case for it to replace gold as a store of value in investor portfolios. Such market conditions suggest that the flagship cryptocurrency would reach “price extremes” akin to those in the 2013 and 2017 bull runs.

Under such circumstances, Bloomberg believes that Bitcoin would rise to $400,000.


Miner Selling Pressure Drops. Analyst Predicts Bitcoin Supply Crisis Underway

Fundamental factors carrying Bitcoin through the rally are increasing. From old-time buyers halting traditional sales patterns, to institutions accumulating more Bitcoin, the market is poised to move with more vim.

Other key players in the market are Bitcoin miners, who have recently stopped selling their Bitcoins. Bitcoin miners reportedly desisted Bitcoin sales and began stacking for the past two days. According to data presented by Glassnode, miners have accumulated an estimated 8874 Bitcoin ($516,266,247 at current market rate).

The habit of stacking, instead of selling became noticeable among miners in December of 2020. Miners have since withheld a large portion of their proceeds and forfeited short-term gains. In the long-term, miners converting to “become net purchasers of BTC rather than sellers,” is a possibility that MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor isn’t ruling out.

Bitcoin risk/reward ratio promising for miners and long-term hodlers
The Bitcoin reserve risk/reward ratio is presenting a big opportunity for buyers. This can be credited in part, as a reason why miners and long-term hodlers have resolved to buy. Data from Glassnode reveals that long-term holders are extremely committed to accumulating at current price levels, as Bitcoin’s risk reserve hits 0.008; a very conducive zone for the asset in this bull market.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Cryptocurrency (Image: MaxPixel)

“Reserve Risk indicates a strong conviction of long-term holders at these price levels. The current risk/reward ratio to invest and hodl is still attractive compared to previous BTC cycle tops.”– Glassnode.

With buying pressure increasing on a daily basis, analysts are now predicting that a Bitcoin supply crisis might be underway. To start with, Bitcoin exchanges are recording a significant drop in supply. Last month, the leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase saw nearly $1 billion worth of Bitcoin leave its platform.

Analysts have traced the massive transfer to be institutional investors accumulating more Bitcoin. On-chain analyst Willy Woo had observed at the time, that the whale transfers could mean that long-term Bitcoin holders, who are known to only sell very little from their Bitcoin holdings, are opening their pockets and filling it with as much Bitcoin as possible.

Bitcoin’s Supply dip is bullish for Bitcoin in the long term
Coincidentally, the decline in Bitcoin’s supply at exchanges tallies with market patterns in 2017, when supply dropped, and prices spiked shortly after.

As such, the reduction in Bitcoin’s supply during this period could once again result in a massive price jump. With Bitcoin’s market cap hitting $1.11 trillion and supply movement subsiding, Woo is convinced that the chances of a drop below that mark are very unlikely.

“10% of Bitcoin’s money supply last moved at prices above $1T market cap. This is strong validation of BTC as a trillion-dollar asset bucket, a new asset class has arrived.” He wrote.

Read more: ZyCrypto

Bitcoin Market Changed ‘Radically’ & Volatility Decline Attracts Institutions

We are in a “radically” different bitcoin (BTC) market today, an analyst stressed, while JPMorgan strategists find that decreasing volatility is here to help institutional adoption.

Per the latest Market Intel report by Chainalysis’ Chief Economist Philip Gradwell, the data collected in the research suggested that the bitcoin price is resilient above at least USD 50,000, that there is significant observed demand at high price levels, but also that the market has changed radically in recent months.

“Cryptocurrency prices have been volatile but resilient over the last two weeks, with the bitcoin price ranging from a low of just over [USD] 50k to a high of just under [USD] 60k, but ending the fortnight at a similar price level to the start, of above [USD] 58k,” he said.

Chainalysis observed the amount of bitcoin held by ‘whales’, those who held at least BTC 1,000, and how much they had paid for it, but they also analyzed all entities holding bitcoin, and concluded that,

“Analyzing the cost of acquisition since 2016 demonstrates how radically the market has changed in the last few months, to one where there is likely to be a lot of demand from existing buyers to support high price levels. As long as existing buyers do not change their hypothesis on bitcoin, it is likely that the price will be resilient above at least [USD] 50k.”

While, by March 29, BTC 8.4m were last acquired for less than USD 10,000 each, BTC 0.1m were acquired for more than USD 57,626 – these holders had made a USD loss but were still holding. Furthermore, said Gradwell, BTC 5.6m were bought for more than USD 30,000 and continue to be held, as well as BTC 3.1m at more than USD 40,000, and BTC 1.6m at more than USD 50,000.

Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)

Additionally, with the rapid price increase since November, from USD 15,000 to the all-time high of above USD 61,000, came the significant acquisition of bitcoin across many groups, resulting in the bitcoin cost curve to shift up significantly for 8m of the BTC 18.7m supply – meaning that the cost basis for many BTC is now “radically higher” than just a few months ago, “demonstrating that a broad swath of market participants are willing to buy and hold at much higher prices than previously.”

Cost curves were relatively low in 2016 and early 2017, as the price of BTC had been relatively low. Despite jumping in the meantime, the cost curves changed relatively slowly and remained close together, according to the analyst. But the two most recent cost curves, for January 4 and March 29, have jumped much higher than any in the past and very rapidly.

Antoni Trenchev, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of major crypto lender Nexo, also claims that “bitcoin is showing resilience like no other asset as it enters the rally-inducing part of its four-year economic cycle.”

“It’s totally uninterested in dollar action, Treasury Yields, tech stocks dropping, gold slipping, you name it. With PayPal allowing 29M merchants to accept crypto and Visa effectively becoming an Ethereum layer 2 by adding USDC as a settlement currency, I have no doubt that this bull run is far from over and that we are on track for further BTC support above [USD] 60K,” he said in an emailed comment.

However, as USD 14bn has been spent to acquire BTC 238,000 at more than USD 57,000, Gradwell warns that this is a relatively weaker price level, and that if more dollars are spent to acquire BTC above this price level, then it will likely become firmer, and vice versa.

Volatility decline = stronger interest
Nigel Green, CEO of financial advisory firm deVere, is quoted by The Independent as saying that after a recent epic BTC rally, this momentum has been slowing down and the “temporary bitcoin price slowdown could trigger a new surge in institutional investment, leading to prices going up permanently.”

And this could be helped by the drop in price volatility.

While high BTC price volatility “acts as a headwind towards further institutional adoption,” it has been on the decline in recent weeks, making BTC more appealing to institutions, strategists at JPMorgan said, as reported by Market Insider.

Read more: cryptonews

On-Chain Analysis: Analysts Predict BTC Won’t Revisit $46.8K Amid Correction Concerns

Bitcoin price registered a minor correction yesterday falling from above $59K to $57K levels which also led to liquidations of millions worth of long positions. The price momentum of BTC in the march has been considerably lower than in previous months and there was no significant volume spike either, prompting many to call Bitcoin top once again.

Willy Woo, a prominent crypto analyst however believes the recent liquidation in the market is nothing out of the blue as the Bitcoin market has not seen any prominent liquidation over the past week. Woo also pointed towards the realized price of Bitcoin with strong support at $47K. The realized price of a currency is the price at which the coin was last moved on the blockchain.

Woo pointed that nearly 15% of the total circulating supply of BTC moved at 47K while only 7% moved at $55K. Also, the month of March is considered historically bearish.

Image by VIN JD from Pixabay
Image by VIN JD from Pixabay

Bitcoin Demand Still Soaring as Speculation Around Price Top Intensifies
Bitcoin reached a new all-time high of $61,634 a couple of weeks back and since then it is in a consolidation phase above $55K. As Bitcoin Bull run enters its 6th month, the speculation about it reaching the top has begun. However, that hasn’t come in the way of its exponential growing demand and adoption.

Goldman Sachs that once said that Bitcoin is not an asset class, is all set to offer Bitcoin investment vehicles for its clients from the second quarter. Morgan Stanley, another banking giant of the US which started offering Bitcoin Fund to its clients this month is also planning to offer physical Bitcoin ownership for its clients in the coming weeks. The demand for a Bitcoin ETF is also soaring, thus the top cryptocurrency far from its top.

Read more: CoinGape

Bitcoin: What should you know about the new generation of BTC HODLers

Bitcoin had a rather eventful March, with the cryptocurrency seeing its value fall dramatically to just over $51k in a matter of hours, before recovering to trade near its ATH before the end of the month.

While this was expected, especially since most analysts believe that a move to $100k cannot be negated in 2021, the sheer speed at which the bounceback was accomplished illustrated Bitcoin’s robustness as an asset, along with the market’s confidence in Bitcoin’s long-term prospects past its latest ATH.

Interestingly, data from Glassnode highlighted a few key elements that may have played a part in enabling Bitcoin to climb to its latest valuation. According to the data-analytics platform’s findings, long-term holders have now slowed their spending significantly, with hodled coins now maturing.

In addition to this, one can also argue that an uptick in outflows from exchanges demonstrates that accumulation is not slowing down, with the same once again substantiating claims that Bitcoin may even have enough bullish momentum to hit the $80k price range before the end of this month.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay
Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

While price-based targets cannot be ascertained for sure, taking a look at a few metrics that are key to understanding the market may shed light on the dominant sentiment around BTC.

While a lot of BTC was accumulated during the height of the bull run, data would suggest that these coins are now entering a key phase in their cycle. According to Glassnode, coins that are aged or hodled beyond 5-6 months are likely to remain dormant and can be reclassified as a Long term holder (LTH) coin once their lifespan exceeds 155 days. This is currently taking place in the BTC market, something that is leading to the creation of what one could call the ‘next gen’ of hodlers participating in the Bitcoin market.

Additionally, the data also pointed out how coins aged 1m-3m (accumulated in the orange zone) grew by +830k BTC, while coins aged 3m to 6m (accumulated in the blue zone) grew by +394.5k BTC. This also supplemented the argument that long-term holders are fairly reluctant to sell their coins, despite a valuation of close to $60k.

Further, on the question of the many investors who entered the BTC market when the price was well past its long-held ATH of around $20k, there has been a noticeable slowdown in LTH spending, especially after the first price dip of the year during which BTC fell from $42k and hit $29k.

Strong hodler sentiment has always benefited the price, kept it immune to sell-offs at local price tops, and it is key if BTC is to achieve its stellar price projections in the coming months. Given that Bitcoin is now seeing the creation of a new class of hodlers, its price stands to benefit substantially over the next few months.

Read more: AMB CRYPTO