This week on Planet Bitcoin - 2 April 2015
Friday 03 April 2015
Weekly market report and news from Dynacoins, first community-supervised mutual bitcoin fund.
Due to the Easter holiday, this week’s report comes a day early.
Once again, the week has seen long periods of flat trading and low volumes. After the fall from the recent high of almost $300, culminating in the brief dip into the $230s, the market is gathering breath while it decides where to go next. As was the case last week, sentiment appears mixed. As things stand, the $240s are considered fair value. On Bitfinex, the longs are stacking up – traders are borrowing money to leverage buys, believing that prices will rise. It’s an indication of sentiment, but no guarantee of the future (for proof, just take a look at what happens at the top of a bubble).
The likelihood is that the Easter weekend will see little activity, just like over the Christmas holiday, with no major or decisive movements until trading gets properly back under way in the second week of April.
Around the Bitverse...
One of the biggest stories of the week was that two federal agents have been charged with fraud after they stole bitcoins in the course of the Silk Road sting that recently saw Ross Ulbricht found guilty on multiple charges and facing life imprisonment. DEA agent Carl Force is said to have developed various online personas, using which he sought to steal bitcoins from both the US government and those he was investigating. He is also accused of investing in and working for a bitcoin exchange whilst working for the DEA. Prosecutors say he told the exchange to freeze a customer’s account and transferred the funds to his own. Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, meanwhile, is said to have sent himself more than $800,000 in bitcoin he controlled during the Silk Road probe, transferring them to an account with Mt Gox. Ulbricht’s lawyers hope that the information – known but disallowed in court at the time of his trial – will aid his appeal.
As ever, a number of bitcoin-related April Fools stories have been circulating. Some reddit users were taken in by the news that the two US agents had made a plea-bargain to release some 700,000 coins they had stolen from Mt Gox. Greek finance minister Yanos Varoufakis was said to have raised the prospect of Greece using bitcoin if funding talks with Germany break down – all the more tantalising for the interest he has shown in cryptocurrency (rather than bitcoin specifically) in the past, as a potential solution to the problems of deflation in Europe.
Back in the real news, it’s otherwise been a fairly quiet week. A number of outlets have run stories about Chinese interest in bitcoin, still going strong after last year’s ‘ban’. Exchanges have found various ways to circumvent the legislation that prevents businesses from dealing in bitcoin, though the ‘real’ bitcoin economy in China is practically non-existent and it is used almost exclusively for speculation. Elsewhere, there have been more promising noises as institutional players take a greater interest in cryptocurrency protocols, with the Wall Street Journal running a fairly generic piece about engagement from ‘Corporate America’. Lastly, Obama has announced some controversial legislation that will allow the US to seize bitcoin from exchanges suspected of being used by cyber-terrorists.
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