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CFTC Commissioner on Voyager Digital

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CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson had some scathing words in response to the legal onslaught launched against Voyager and its former CEO, Stephen Ehrlich. Notably, both the CFTC and the FTC had filed separate lawsuits against the company and its former leader, alleging a litany of missteps that culminated in the loss of billions of dollars in customer funds.

In a statement released on October 12th, Commissioner Kristin Johnson didn’t mince her words. She accused Voyager of employing misleading practices, turning a blind eye to warning signs, and conducting what she aptly termed “bare-bones due diligence.” These lapses, she contended, failed to safeguard the interests of their trusting customers. In her stern judgment, she declared, “Because of Voyager’s failures, the company became no better than a house of cards.”

The commodities commissioner expressed astonishment that Voyager had failed to exert pressure on the investment firms where it entrusted its customers’ assets. Instead of demanding transparency from these firms, Voyager seemed to sidestep the long-established custodian expectations and simply dispensed customer funds with minimal effort to preserve the same.

Commissioner Johnson’s comments came on the heels of the regulatory hammer falling on Voyager’s former CEO, Stephen Ehrlich, as both the CFTC and the Federal Trade Commission filed lawsuits against him on that very same day. The CFTC lawsuit alleged fraud and “registration failures” over Voyager’s platform and its “unregistered commodity pool.” On the other hand, the FTC reached a proposed settlement with Voyager, effectively banning the firm from offering, marketing, or promoting any product or service related to the handling of assets.

In a staggering turn of events, Voyager and its affiliates agreed to a judgment of $1.65 billion, with the intention of repaying customers during the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. Notably, Commissioner Caroline Pham of the CFTC reaffirmed the regulator’s commitment to taking action against cryptocurrency firms that misappropriate customer funds. She emphasized the crucial distinction between managing investor money for trading derivatives and accepting deposits while providing loans, which, she asserted, were the lifeblood of the economy.

However, Pham did raise concerns that the CFTC might be stretching its authority in interpreting what constitutes a commodity pool operator, potentially disrupting well-established legal and regulatory frameworks.

Notably, on September 7th, Pham called for the establishment of a cryptocurrency regulatory pilot program, aimed at addressing the risks faced by retail investors.

Voyager’s woes culminated in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in July 2022. Their reported debts ranged from $1 billion to a staggering $10 billion, owed to over 100,000 creditors. The once-prominent cryptocurrency brokerage firm, which had opened withdrawals for its customers in June, now stood at a crossroads of financial turmoil.

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: Bitcoin Slips Below $70,000 Amidst High Liquidation

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In a swift turn of events, Bitcoin (BTC), the pioneering cryptocurrency, dropped below the $70,000 threshold early on Wednesday following a wave of investor sell-offs. Just a day prior, Bitcoin had crossed the $71,000 mark, but market sentiment swiftly shifted, dragging other major altcoins—including Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP), Solana (SOL), and Litecoin (LTC)—into the red zone.

According to CoinMarketCap data, the overall Market Fear & Greed Index stood at 75 (Greed) out of 100, indicating a mix of optimism and apprehension among traders. Notably, the Bittensor (TAO) token emerged as the top gainer with a remarkable 24-hour surge of over 7 percent, while dogwifhat (WIF) experienced the largest loss, plummeting nearly 16 percent.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Update Bitcoin’s price tumbled to $69,089.01, marking a 24-hour dip of 3.05 percent, as reported by CoinMarketCap. On the Indian exchange WazirX, BTC was priced at Rs 60.93 lakh.

Other Major Cryptocurrencies Ethereum (ETH) saw a 24-hour loss of 4.81 percent, trading at $3,508.86, while Dogecoin (DOGE) registered a dip of 5.59 percent, currently priced at $0.1879. Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) also experienced losses, with Solana (SOL) marking a 24-hour loss of 3.44 percent.

Top Gainers and Losers Bittensor (TAO) led the pack of gainers with a 7.30 percent surge, while dogwifhat (WIF) suffered the most significant loss, dropping by 15.58 percent.

Market Analysis and Expert Insights Experts weighed in on the market scenario, attributing Bitcoin’s downturn to heightened liquidations and cautious sentiment ahead of the upcoming US CPI data release. While Bitcoin’s immediate support rests at $67,700, resistance is expected at $70,400. Ethereum proponents face challenges amid hopes for an ETF approval, with the SEC providing limited updates on the matter.

Final Thoughts The cryptocurrency market remains highly dynamic, with prices fluctuating rapidly and investor sentiment playing a pivotal role. As the market navigates through volatility, it’s essential for investors to stay informed, exercise caution, and seek expert advice before making any investment decisions.

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Cryptocurrency: A Scapegoat for Foreign Policy Failures?

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Cryptocurrency has once again found itself at the center of a heated debate, this time regarding its alleged role in facilitating illicit activities and circumventing sanctions imposed by the United States. The Biden administration, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its handling of the issue, with some accusing it of using digital assets as a convenient scapegoat for broader foreign policy shortcomings.

In a recent hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo raised concerns about the misuse of cryptocurrencies by foreign adversaries such as Iran, Russia, North Korea, and militant groups like Hamas. Adeyemo’s remarks underscored a growing unease within the U.S. government regarding the potential national security implications of unregulated digital currencies.

However, voices from within the cryptocurrency industry and Congress have pushed back against the administration’s narrative. Faryar Shirzad, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, pointed out that the prevalence of illicit activity in the crypto space is relatively low compared to traditional finance. Instead of demonizing cryptocurrencies, Shirzad argued, the focus should be on targeting bad actors operating offshore.

Senator Tim Scott, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, echoed these sentiments, accusing the Biden administration of using digital assets as a distraction from its failure to effectively combat financial flows to sanctioned entities. Scott’s criticism reflects broader skepticism among some lawmakers about the government’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

One area of potential agreement between the Biden administration and the cryptocurrency industry is the need for clearer regulations governing stablecoins, a type of digital asset pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. Both sides recognize the importance of addressing the potential risks associated with stablecoin issuance and usage, particularly in the context of national security and financial stability.

The debate over stablecoins has intensified following reports of their alleged role in facilitating illicit transactions, including those linked to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. The Treasury Department has called for increased oversight of stablecoin issuers and transactions, while also advocating for legislation that would subject them to stricter regulatory standards.

Despite the contentious nature of the discussion, there are signs of bipartisan cooperation on certain aspects of cryptocurrency regulation. A bipartisan bill addressing stablecoin regulation passed the House Financial Services Committee last year, signaling a potential path forward for legislative action in this area.

As the debate over cryptocurrency regulation continues to unfold, it is clear that finding the right balance between innovation and security will be paramount. While concerns about illicit activity and national security must be addressed, policymakers must also recognize the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies in fostering financial inclusion and technological advancement.

Ultimately, the resolution of these issues will require thoughtful collaboration between government officials, industry stakeholders, and lawmakers to develop a regulatory framework that promotes innovation while safeguarding against misuse. Only through constructive dialogue and cooperation can we ensure that cryptocurrencies fulfill their potential as a force for positive change in the global economy.

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Bitcoin Resurgence: Why Wall Street Is Embracing the Crypto Revolution

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Andrew Pratt of Wiser Wealth Management in Marietta, Ga., finds little resistance as he proposes Bitcoin investments to his firm’s committee. With Bitcoin surging 140% in the past year and backed by giants like BlackRock, skepticism has waned. Pratt sees the potential to allocate a modest 1% of client portfolios to Bitcoin, acknowledging the limited downside risk compared to potential gains.

The debate over Bitcoin’s intrinsic value seems to have lost its relevance amidst its soaring market performance. Once dismissed, Bitcoin now boasts a market value of $1.3 trillion, driving the total crypto market to $2.5 trillion. Wall Street, once wary, now views cryptocurrency as an opportunity for profit rather than a speculative venture.

Despite lingering doubts about Bitcoin’s utility beyond speculation, Wall Street executives are increasingly supportive. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, notably reversed his stance, endorsing Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and championing the iShares Bitcoin Trust, now one of the largest Bitcoin ETFs with nearly $18 billion in assets.

While skepticism persists about Bitcoin’s status as a real asset or currency, its growing acceptance on Wall Street underscores the evolving landscape of finance. As institutions embrace cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin’s journey from pariah to portfolio asset highlights the transformative power of digital assets in reshaping traditional investment strategies.

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