As Bitcoin hits all-time price highs, regulation must now become a major priority for financial watchdogs, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.
The call-to-action from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the price of Bitcoin hit a new record high, surging past $61,000 on the deVere Crypto exchange on Sunday for the first time.
Mr Green says: “Whether crypto cynics like it or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly important part of the global financial system.
“Bitcoins in circulation are now worth $1 trillion, with prices having rallied 890% over the last year. Most major financial institutions, including investment giants and payment companies, are now backing the world’s largest cryptocurrency, and there’s ongoing soaring interest from retail investors.”
He continues: “The move towards digital currencies is going to increase – and at pace – over the next few years. This is why financial regulators must now make regulation of the crypto sector a major priority.
“With a growing dominance, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies must be held to the same standards as the rest of the financial system with a robust, workable international framework.
“This will help reduce any potential disruption to global financial stability, protect investors, tackle illicit activity and deliver an economic boost to countries that adopt and adhere to it.”
Previously, the deVere boss, who is a long time, high-profile cryptocurrency advocate, has said that one of the best ways to address the regulatory issues is via the exchanges.
“Nearly all foreign exchange transactions go through banks or currency houses and this is what needs to happen with cryptocurrencies. When flows run through regulated exchanges, it will be much easier to tackle potential wrongdoing, such as money laundering, and make sure tax is paid,” he has noted.
“For this to happen, banks will need to open accounts for exchanges, which is why they must be regulated.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “We’re at an important point for Bitcoin, which is now worth more than many countries’ GDP.
“Financial watchdogs need to bring this asset class into the regulatory tent sooner rather than later via the exchanges.”
$623M in Bitcoin From 2016 Bitfinex Hack Moved Under Cover of Coinbase Listing Hype
Over $623 million worth of bitcoin (BTC, -0.74%) (BTC) stolen Bitfinex in 2016 was moved on Wednesday, according to Twitter account Whale Alert, coming on the same day the whole market celebrated a milestone in crypto history: Coinbase’s direct listing on Nasdaq.
Trade The Chain, a real-time crypto data service, confirmed the number of bitcoin moved and said it amounts to about 10% of the total 119,756 BTC stolen from Bitfinex in 2016’s hack.
The activity came as cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase went live with its direct listing on Nasdaq and analysts told CoinDesk that the timing may not be a coincidence.
“We believe that the BTC transfers started during the trading for Coinbase’s direct listing,” Nick Mancini, research analyst at Trade the Chain, told CoinDesk in an interview. “The media shields allow them to at least get less publicity, considering there are fewer people tracking their movements or reporting it … everyone’s focused on the Coinbase listing.”
As Decrypt previously reported, over 5,000 BTC was also moved on Nov. 30 from the same stolen fund.
The November move of the funds came as bitcoin’s price headed toward $20,000, a record high price at the time.
But some suggested that the move is unlikely to create any near-term risks to bitcoin’s price.
“The 2016 Bitfinex hack BTC are some of the most tracked and blacklisted funds in the world,” Adam Cochran, a partner with Cinneamhain Venture, wrote in a tweet. “No exchange will process them. They can basically never be cashed out.”
However, with the rise of decentralized exchanges, Mancini said that there might be ways for the “bad actors” from the hack to obfuscate the addresses of the stolen bitcoin through popular crypto fundraising methods such as initial DEX offerings (IDOs).
“Although it is time-consuming, difficult, and somewhat trackable, we have seen with the wallets of where the money was transferred, they are already trying to obfuscate everything as best as possible,” Mancini said. “I suspect that this is not the final destination for these coins but the first destination for a path of many ways that these bad actors will take to eventually extract value out of the bitcoin. “
Bitcoin Sets a New Record High at $63,000 on Tuesday
Bitcoin surged to a fresh record high of more than $63,000 on Tuesday, as investors awaited the highly-anticipated stock market debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
The price of bitcoin climbed 5% in the last 24 hours to hit $63,171, according to data from Coin Metrics, before easing slightly to around $62,653. Ether, the second-most valuable digital coin after bitcoin, also set a fresh record, climbing to $2,222.
Coinbase is set to go public on Wednesday through a direct listing that could value the company at as much as $100 billion — more than major trading venue operators like Intercontinental Exchange, owner of the New York Stock Exchange. Crypto investors are hailing the company’s stock market debut as a major milestone for the industry after years of skepticism from Wall Street and regulators.
“This is really good and really important for the industry,” Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and co-founder of London-based cryptocurrency platform Luno, told CNBC. “It’s going to increase the trust and transparency in our industry.”
“There’s still a bit of distrust in the industry and I think having a company of that size be public is going to help a lot of people realize that this is not just an asset class to take seriously but also a business to take seriously.”
Coinbase, founded in 2012, is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. It’s seen surging revenues this year thanks to a climb in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company reported estimated revenues of $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a nine-fold increase from the same period a year earlier, while profits grew to between $730 million and $800 million.
Bitcoin has more than doubled in price since the start of this year, as mainstream investors jumped into cryptocurrencies. Tesla recently made a $1.5 billion bet on bitcoin and now accepts the digital currency as a method of payment for its cars. Meanwhile, Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are looking to offer their wealthy clients some exposure to bitcoin.
Bitcoin bulls view the cryptocurrency as a store of value akin to gold that can be used to diversify investment portfolios in times of economic crisis. But skeptical economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Nouriel Roubini are unconvinced, viewing bitcoin as extremely volatile and a vehicle for illegal transactions.
Bitcoin Price Shoots Past $60K, Ether Hits New All-Time High in Early Saturday Trading
Bitcoin’s price neared its all-time high of $61,712 early Saturday while ether (ETH, -0.26%) set a new all-time high at $2,190.
According to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin price page, the leading cryptocurrency traded above $60,000 for the first time in nearly a month after spending weeks vacillating between $52,000 and the upper $50,000s. Bitcoin pulled back marginally after peaking around $60,900, though it remains above the psychological marker as of press time.
Bitcoin last hit an all-time high in mid-March, according to CoinGecko.
Meanwhile ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, came close to $2,200, just days after breaching $2,100 for the first time.
While it’s unclear if there’s a causation, the price action comes just days before leading U.S. exchange Coinbase begins trading on Nasdaq in one of the crypto industry’s most anticipated events. A sign of the maturing market, the listing will likely give Wall Street traders their most accessible bet yet on growth in the space.
Some institutional investors have wasted little time. Friday, Daniel Loeb, CEO of $17 billion hedge fund Third Point revealed he was a hodler in response to a CoinDesk report. He’s hardly alone: institutional funds have flooded the markets and have been deemed at least partly responsible for the 2020-2021 rally.
Bitcoin bulls were further bolstered on Friday by the idea that an exchange-traded fund (ETF) with exposure to the digital asset space might be approved in 2021, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed it was reviewing ETF giant WisdomTree’s application.
The regulator previously began reviewing VanEck’s ETF application last month, and another six companies have filed initial registration forms declaring their own efforts to launch a regulated bitcoin (BTC, -0.99%) investment vehicle.
The broader digital asset space has seen tremendous froth over the past few months, with investors and industry participants trading heavily in decentralized finance tools, non-fungible tokens and altcoins like doge, which hit a peak of $0.08 in February, eight times its value a month earlier.
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