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IMF says Bitcoin’s correlation with large-cap US stocks is a cause for concern

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The cryptocurrency market is green with the majority of the coins recording positive figures in 24-hour and 7-day changes. Terra’s LUNA and meme coin Dogecoin are leading in 7-day gains while Cardano’s ADA tops 24 hr gains as of writing.

Among other headlines outside the markets, a Swiss bank has laid more bullish predictions for the pioneer cryptocurrency. The IMF has expressed concerned that crypto’s movement in tandem with stocks could raise financial stability concerns.

Here are more details on these and other exciting events.

Bitcoin has matured, but its co-movement with stocks poses risks, says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released new research on global financial stability. It was accompanied by a blog post in which the IMF cautioned that Bitcoin is increasingly becoming an integral part of the digital asset ecosystem, a matter to worry about.

The monetary body argued against the idea that Bitcoin is a hedge against inflation. The reason being, following the US government’s injection of financial support into the economy at the start of the pandemic, the prices of both Bitcoin and stocks surged.

This meant that major digital assets, BTC and ETH, saw increased connectedness with the stocks. For context, the correlation coefficient between Bitcoin and the S&P 500 remained constant at 0.01 between 2017 and 2019.

In the pandemic period, 2020-2021, that figure rocketed to 0.36. The blog noted that with crypto adoption on the rise and it becoming an integral part of economic systems, it could soon raise financial stability concerns. Therefore, it advised the creation of a global regulatory framework for crypto.

Swiss Bank CEO predicts a record high for Bitcoin in 2022

CEO of Switzerland-based SEBA Bank said that Bitcoin could be on course to break its all-time high record this year. During the Crypto Finance Conference on Wednesday, Guido Buehler told CNBC that according to his company’s internal valuation, Bitcoin showed a price level ranging $50,000 – $75,000.

Thus, he said he expects that with time, the value of the world’s largest crypto coin will rise to that level.

When asked what motivated the belief in the value of Bitcoin rising to that price, Buehler cited institutional investors. He explained that as a bank, they had “asset pools” waiting for the right moment to put their money into the coin.

Having plunged below the crucial $40,000 support earlier in the week, Bitcoin found its footing and has been hovering around $43,000. Bitcoin’s recovery was quick, and the markets were boosted with news that the consumer price index rose by 7% last month.

Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz told CNBC last week that his firm is seeing increasing demand from institutional investors. Furthermore, he explained these investors were setting up positions to buy at his predicted floor for the coin, $38k to $42k.

Solana dubbed tomorrow’s “Visa” of crypto

The Bank of America demonstrated brimming optimism in Solana earlier this week. The bank’s digital asset strategist Alkesh Shah wrote in a research note published on Tuesday that the ecosystem could become the “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem”.

Explaining the assertion, Shah noted that Solana blows its competitors out of the water considering that it hosts an excess of 400 dApps that offer services in the network such as NFT marketplaces.

Further, Solana boasts significantly high network performance, enjoying up to 65,000 TPS. Comparatively, Visa practically averages 1,700 TPS, while Ethereum has a figure of about 15 TPS.

Shah also suggested that Solana’s low fees, scalability and ease of use have established it conveniently to continually bite off chunks from Ethereum’s dominant market share. Conversely, Ethereum, though secure, lacks in scalability, which causes congestion and high gas fees.

Solana, whose native token SOL ranks fifth in crypto market cap, grew alongside other crypto ecosystems throughout 2021. The network saw massive advancements in development across the ecosystem, recording faster growth than market giant Ethereum did at the same time in history.

Bitcoin will never be an inflation hedge, insists billionaire investor Mark Cuban

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has dispelled the view that Bitcoin could act as a hedge against inflation.

During a recent Twitter exchange with YouTuber Preston Pysh, the billionaire investor said that Bitcoin is not and won’t ever be a hedge against inflation.

Further, he supposed that his preferred coin, Doge, was a better alternative for spending, citing the 1-year performance evaluation between the two coins. He also noted that the DOGE/BTC pair has remained unchanged within the previous 30 days.

In the past, the Shark Tank investor has not taken an entirely welcoming approach to Bitcoin. In an April 2020 episode of the Pomp Podcast, Cuban said it was easier to trade bananas than Bitcoin.

Being a crypto advocate, in 2019 his NBA team started accepting payments in crypto for merchandise and matchday tickets. However, Cuban has noted that users are hardly willing to spend their Bitcoin as they consider it a possibly appreciating asset.

On the other hand, he said, many fans spend using Doge given that it is easy to transact and doesn’t appreciate as much, so people are willing to let go.

Kim Kardashian, Mayweather in trouble over ‘pump and dump’ allegations

A class-action lawsuit has mentioned celebrity Kim Kardashian, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr, and former basketball star Paul Pierce as defendants in a case where they are accused of promoting a bogus token.

The lawsuit, filed by New York resident Ryan Huegerich and other investors, claims that the individuals mentioned used their popularity to influence investors into putting their money in the Ethereum MAX.

The filing suggests that the public figures’ endorsements of the token was just cover for the token’s creators, Steve Gentile of Connecticut, and Giovanni Perone of Florida, to spike the price of the token. The suit claims that the two creators later sold part of their EMAX holdings “for substantial profits”.

Kim Kardashian promoted EMAX to her more than 250 million Instagram followers, sharing a post appearing to root for the token. Mayweather wore shorts bearing the Ethereum Max URL during a match up with Logan Paul, and Pierce did it on Twitter.

Huegerich’s lawyers concluded that the EMAX creators had resorted to a pump and dump scam with the celebrities to inflate the price then sell. Notably, the suit did not mention the cost and recipient of the offloaded tokens and whether the celebrities profited from it.

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Crypto Corner: The Sports Slice

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The NFL is approaching crypto sports deals with caution, but the abundance of potential revenue is keeping the league engaged. Meanwhile, one storied football club across the pond is looking to build the first-ever ‘metaverse stadium.’ And a popular NBA player is shutting down shop on his NFT project, leaving many with a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s all in a week’s worth of action when it comes to sports and crypto. Let’s review the past seven days of activity.

The Sports Slice

De’Aaron Fox Abandons NFT Project

De’Aaron Fox is arguably the most talented player on the admittedly lowly Sacramento Kings, and has been a long-time fan favorite for the Bay Area-adjacent club. Fox was one of the first NBA players to release their own NFT projects, titled SwipaTheFox, and despite roughly $1.5M in NFT sales, it’s all coming to a screeching halt this past week.

It’s another NFT project to join a long list of celebrity-started or sponsored mints that provided a detailed roadmap, but failed to deliver. Below is a screenshot from the project’s Discord that shows Fox’s announcement of discontinuing the project:

FTX Launching Gaming Unit, Expanding Marketing Push Beyond Sports

A new report from Front Office Sports has unveiled that crypto exchange FTX is launching a dedicated gaming unit focused on blockchain network and NFT integration. The full scope of the unit is yet to be disclosed, however the move is certainly on par with FTX’s positioning. The exchange has partnered with powerhouse esports org TSM in a first-ever naming rights deal, and has spent substantial funds around GameFi and related areas.

Meanwhile, the exchange also brought on a new head of global luxury partnerships as FTX looks to build outside of it’s current sports-sponsorship heavy strategy. Lauren Remington Platt will fill the role and has a resume tailored in fashion and business development that will be tough to top. Platt previously built her own beauty service and established premiere partners such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue.

Nielsen Report: Blockchain Sports Sponsorship To Hit $5B By 2026

A new global sports sponsorship report from Nielsen that was released this week reveals that the analytics and data firm is projecting massive spend from crypto competitors to continue to flood in to the sports sponsorship space. Nielsen is forecasting sports sponsorship deals from blockchain players to amass to $5B by 2026, a nearly 8-fold increase over last year’s spend. The report cites ‘legitimacy’ and ‘fan engagement’ as the two key factors to contribute to future deal’s success in sport.

We’ll have a deep dive on the Nielsen report in the days to come.

MLS: DC United Finds New Blockchain Partner

MLS club DC United has found a new blockchain technology partner this week in XDC Network, who have signed a three-year deal and will find brand assets on United’s home and away jerseys and training tops.

The XDC Foundation’s Executive Director Billy Sebell said in a release:

“This partnership is about bringing the value of blockchain to the D.C. United fanbase to elevate their experience, drive deeper engagement, and connect the growing crypto ecosystem to the club.”

Related Reading | NFTs In A Nutshell: A Weekly Review

XDC Network is the latest blockchain technology firm to find a partner in the MLS. | Source: XDC-USD on TradingView.com

The NFL’s Latest Perspective On Crypto Sponsorship Deals 

Last week’s Sports Slice highlighted the NFL’s latest lobbying efforts with the SEC and other U.S. federal agencies. This week, a new report from the Sports Business Journal states that the NFL is still proceeding with care; despite massive success in the Super Bowl commercial execution from crypto companies like Coinbase, the league isn’t ready to go all-in quite yet.

League representatives told SBJ that they are “hopeful” that a league-wide crypto policy can come into place in the next 30 days, admitting that it realistically “may or may not happen.” The league’s current hesitance lies within the lack of current regulatory framework, and SBJ reports that the league is “is more confident in products based on the blockchain that don’t require cryptocurrencies to function,” citing the deal with Ticketmaster to produce NFTs. In present day, the league is certainly more prone to revenue-driving opportunities that don’t require the league to take on the level of risk that current hands-on crypto engagement is exposing.

The First-Ever Metaverse Stadium?

Manchester City has been one of the more aggressive Premier Club teams, and now the club is working with Sony’s VR team to build a “virtual duplicate of the Etihad Stadium” that will serve as the team’s virtual HQ. The club already has a fan token established with Chiliz, and despite rocky relationships at times with potential blockchain partners, it’s bullish to see Man City still pursuing new avenues to engage with fans.

Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
The writer of this content is not associated or affiliated with any of the parties mentioned in this article. This is not financial advice.
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Ponzi Scam: BitConnect’s Indian Founder Charged In $2.4 Billion Bogus Scheme

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A federal grand jury in San Diego charged the founder of a cryptocurrency startup Friday in a broad indictment that claims he cheated investors of more than $2.4 billion in a Ponzi scam.

Prosecutors say the fraud is the largest of its sort ever prosecuted criminally.

Satish Kumbhani, 36, of Hemal in Gujarat, India, swindled investors regarding BitConnect’s “Lending Program,” according to court filings.

Based on the indictment, Kumbhani founded BitConnect in 2016 as a “classic Ponzi scam.” he US Department of Justice said the exchange reached a peak market valuation of $3.4 billion.

Prosecutors allege that BitConnect’s proprietary technology made misleading promises about returns based on phony “volatility software” that monitored bitcoin exchange markets.

Another Major Ponzi Scam

According to court filings, the program was allegedly created to trade automatically and successfully by buying and selling Bitcoin’s volatility.

However, a large portion of the technology remained unknown to investors. When someone requested a demo at a 2017 event, Kumbhani was evasive:

“So you’re asking me a pretty difficult question,” he explained to one journalist. Later, as described by the Los Angeles Times, he stated, “We are not sharing anything for privacy concerns.”

BitConnect halted operations in January 2018 after receiving cease-and-desist letters from North Carolina and Texas state regulators.

Total crypto market cap at $1.766 trillion in the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com

The global repercussions was fast, with South Korean investors becoming “paranoid” and one promoter informing Kumbhani that people were discussing suicide in chat rooms, the indictment stated.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Kumbhani on September 1 for securing more than $2 billion in an unregistered offering.

Glenn Arcaro, BitConnect’s main promoter in North America, pleaded guilty that day.

Long Prison Time

Kumbhani is facing charges for conspiracy to commit price manipulation and wire fraud, as well as operating an unregulated money transfer business and conspiracy to launder money in foreign shores.

Kumbhani also violated US financial industry regulations, including those imposed by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

For instance, despite the fact that BitConnect transacted money through its digital currency exchange, BitConnect never registered with FinCEN, as required by the US Bank Secrecy Act.

As bitcoin grows in popularity and encouraging foreign investors from all over the world, “alleged fraudsters like Kumbhani are deploying increasingly complicated methods to deceive investors,” Ryan Korner, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Office in Los Angeles, disclosed.

Kumbhani, who is still at large, faces a maximum sentence of 70 years behind bars if convicted on all charges.

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Russian Politicians’ Crypto Wallets Targeted By Ukraine – Hefty Reward Up For Grabs

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Ukraine is exploring more means of thwarting Russia’s onslaught on their country by running after government official’s crypto wallets.

Ukrainian authorities are attempting to stay ahead of crypto-savvy Russian officials who may shift to digital currency in order to evade rising efforts to financially isolate the Kremlin and its allies.

Wars can be waged on numerous fronts, as few stones are left unturned in the pursuit of the most effective techniques for gaining the upper hand.

Ukraine demonstrates resourcefulness in this aspect, as it fights Russia’s recent unprovoked invasion with conventional military techniques.

The country – which is unparalleled in terms of military capacity – is now hellbent on crippling Russian political figures by actively pursuing information about any digital wallets they may possess.

Ukraine Dangles Reward For Crypto Wallets Info

Vice Premier Mykhailo Fedorov announced on Saturday that the Ukrainian crypto community will reward those who give information.

The government has already begun soliciting cryptocurrency donations via social media and has advertised in online hacker forums that it is seeking assistance in defending against cyberattacks.

Federov also indicated that Ukraine is assembling an “IT army.”

Russia’s policy of combating adversaries using digital assets and online means has been in place for a long time, and the Ukrainian hope is that it may be turned around on them in a significant way.

Total crypto market cap at $1.731 trillion | Source: TradingView.com

Sanctions are among the most potent measures available to the United States and its Western allies for influencing the behavior of states they regard as threats.

And in this instance, a bounty for anyone who can provide information about crypto wallets belonging to Russian and Belarusian politicians can be a very effective instrument.

Bounty To Be Paid By Private Donors

According to Artem Afian, a Ukrainian attorney in charge of the project, the incentives for politicians’ crypto wallet information will be paid by private donations rather than by the Ukrainian government.

Afian did not disclose the total amount raised thus far, but said that donations were made primarily in Ether (ETH), but also in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Ukraine’s actions demonstrate how cryptocurrencies can cross borders and be used by both those seeking assistance and those attempting to evade the law.

Afian said he intends to publish a list of politicians’ addresses over the next two to three days and distribute it to major cryptocurrency exchanges.

Putin May Not Fall Into The Trap

The primary goal is to flag these addresses as “unsafe” and to deter individuals and businesses from transacting with them.

However, it is unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will fall victim to this dragnet.

According to credible grapevines, Putin is notoriously averse to technology and reportedly does not own a cellphone.

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