The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission today launched a joint-strike against Abra, a crypto investment platform that let its users trade tokens that represent stocks.
Abra, which also operates under the name Plutus Financial, must pay $300,000 in fines—split evenly between the SEC and the CFTC.
Abra also agreed to stop offering tokenized stocks, which were the products that made the California-based startup stand out within the crypto space. Now, Abra is back to being a plain ol’ crypto investment platform and wallet.
Those tokens Abra sold, though, weren’t actually backed by stocks; they just represented them. So why did the SEC and CFTC both offer cease-and-desist orders?
The SEC claimed that these tokenized stocks were “security-based swaps subject to US securities laws.” And the CFTC said that Abra “engaged in unlawful off-exchange swaps trading.”
So, tokenized or not, the same rules still apply. And for Abra to offer those services legitimately, it should have serviced only “eligible contract participants.” According to the SEC’s order, this means either non-US residents or US residents who meet certain conditions, such as individuals who have “at least $5 million and often $10 million invested on a discretionary basis.”
But Abra “took no steps” to ensure only its customers were eligible investors, according to the SEC. And, in fact, specifically sought out retail clients for its products, the complaint alleged.
Abra: The history
Abra started offering price exposure to some foreign currencies at the end of 2017. In the spring of 2018, it let customers invest in cryptocurrencies. And in February 2019, it started offering tokenized versions of US stocks and ETFs.
After the CFTC and the SEC kicked up a fuss in early 2019, Abra stopped offering its crypto and foreign currency based wasps to US customers; it would offer those products to non-US investors instead through its Filipino company.
But the CFTC didn’t buy it.
Even though Abra’s company in the Philippines handled those swaps, Abra’s California office “played a significant role in the swaps,” said the CFTC. “Abra employees in California designed the swap contract, including setting the contract’s price and establishing the hedging mechanism.”
Abra also promoted those products on its websites, which were frequented by US customers. Nor did it take steps to ensure that it wasn’t offering its products to US customers, said the CFTC.
What next for DeFi?
The big question is: where does this leave decentralized finance?
“Note that the legal construct Abra used in these swap contracts is essentially the same as those underlying most DeFi products. Hence, they can potentially face the same exact charges,” tweeted Maya Zehavi, a founding board member of the Israeli Blockchain Industry Forum.
Katherine Wu, an venture capitalist at Notation Capital, tweeted: “The reality here now is that any crypto businesses that want onboard the next million non-crypto native users by touching fiat or traditional fintech products will have to navigate intense financial regulations/ requirements.”
As is often the case with the US government’s crypto lawsuits, Abra agreed “without admitting or denying the findings.”
Crypto ban in India rumors loom again
Crypto ban in India rumors is looming in the country again. Unocoin founder says rumors are bad for business. And earlier RBi crypto ban in India was quashed by the court. The potential news of the crypto ban in India to be quashed soon sends forth a wave of unanswered questions across the Indian digital […]
- Crypto ban in India rumors is looming in the country again.
- Unocoin founder says rumors are bad for business.
- And earlier RBi crypto ban in India was quashed by the court.
The potential news of the crypto ban in India to be quashed soon sends forth a wave of unanswered questions across the Indian digital market and disrupts the crypto field every now and then. With Unocoin, an old player of the crypto market adding hundreds of clients to its network daily, its Co-Founder Sathvik Vishwanath deems the ban merely speculation and news that spreads bi-yearly coinciding with the parliament session uptake.
He furthers that the news does little to the business but overall slows down the growth of the industry. While recently an Indian Bitcoin trader was forced to commit suicide after killing his wife and two children.
Crypto ban in India
Reserve Bank of India, in a bid to diminish crypto trade, had notified financial institutions to not cater to cryptocurrency-based firms and clients, however, the supreme court had canceled the notice confirming the country’s open outlook towards crypto dealings.
Vishwanath highlighted the critical need for acknowledging cryptocurrencies as a digital commodity. The vague classification and lack of information on whether it is a currency, commodity, or asset or equity keep business users confused about what rules apply to it from a taxation point of view.
The absence of clarity and standardized regulations are ongoing issues with the trade and Vishwanath believes it is playing a role in hindering its consistent growth in the region. To work around it many crypto owners have registered their firms abroad as a means to solidify business strength says, Vishwanath.
Recognizing the market potential within the region, Vishwanath informed a monthly $300 – $500 crypto trade constantly being witnessed and predicts a stark increase as more people are educated about this field’s know-hows.
Approximately 0.3 percent of India’s population is said to have knowledge of the digital trade, and Vishwanath sees it’s potential going up 5 percent. The brokerage intends to add more digital products to its lineup as and when the market demands. As per Vishwanath’s experience, 2020 has seen a major shift in focus on digital trade and has witnessed up to 500 customers signing up daily. He predicts strong investment opportunities within the field.
TA: Bitcoin Key Indicators Suggest Risk of Extended Downside Correction
Bitcoin price is down over $500 from the $13,850 swing high against the US Dollar. BTC is showing bearish signs and it could even decline below the $13,000 support.
- Bitcoin failed to stay above the $13,500 support and declined below $13,200.
- The price is currently consolidating near $13,200 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.
- There is a key contracting triangle forming with support near $13,220 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Kraken).
- The pair is likely to resume its decline below $13,200 and $13,100 in the near term.
Bitcoin Price Starts Downside Correction
Bitcoin price traded to a new monthly high at $13,850 before starting a major downside correction. BTC broke the key $13,500 support level to move into a short-term bearish zone.
The decline gained pace below the $13,200 level and the 100 hourly simple moving average. The price even spiked below the $13,000 level and traded as low as $12,899. Recently, there was a recovery wave above the $13,000 and $13,100 levels.
The price traded above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent decline from the $13,850 high to $12,899 low. Bitcoin is currently consolidating near $13,200 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.
There is also a key contracting triangle forming with support near $13,220 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair. If there is a downside break below the triangle support and $13,200, there is a risk of a fresh decline. The next major support is near the $13,000 level.
If the bulls fail to defend the $13,000 support level, it could open the doors for an extended downside correction towards the $12,600 level or $12,500 in the coming sessions.
Upside Break in BTC?
If bitcoin stays above the $13,200 support level, it could clear the triangle resistance near the $13,315 level. The next key resistance is near the $13,375 level. It is close to the 50% Fib retracement level of the recent decline from the $13,850 high to $12,899 low.
The main hurdle for the bulls is near the $13,500 level, above which the price is likely to restart its rally and it could even revisit the $13,850 high.
Hourly MACD – The MACD is likely to move into the bearish zone.
Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTC/USD is now well below the 50 level.
Major Support Levels – $13,200, followed by $13,000.
Major Resistance Levels – $13,315, $13,375 and $13,500.
MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor HODLs $230M Worth Of Bitcoin Privately
Michael Saylor, the founder and CEO of the Nasdaq-listed company MicroStrategy, has revealed that he personally HODLs nearly 18,000 bitcoins.
Additionally, he announced that his company has instituted a new Bitcoin-oriented treasury reserve policy and plans to make further BTC purchases.
Michael Saylor Owns 17,732 Bitcoins
The CEO of MicroStrategy has a somewhat compelling history with Bitcoin. As CryptoPotato reported recently, he said in 2013 that BTC’s days are “numbered.” However, he has completed a one-eighty since then and has been quite bullish on the cryptocurrency in recent months.
The company that he founded more than three decades ago bought a total of 38,250 bitcoins in two batches. This substantial amount represents 0.18% of all bitcoins ever to exist.
Apart from MicroStrategy’s holdings, Saylor disclosed today his own BTC balance.
“Some have asked how much BTC I own. I personally hodl 17,732 BTC, which I bought at $9,882 each on average. I informed MicroStrategy of these holdings before the company decided to buy Bitcoin for itself.” – he tweeted.
To put his Bitcoin holdings into USD perspective, the amount equals $230 million, with BTC’s price trading around $13,000 per coin at the time of this writing.
MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin-Focused Reserve Policy
In a recent interview, Saylor also revealed his company’s Q3 results. Apart from displaying impressive quarterly numbers, MicroStrategy’s CEO announced a compelling new treasury reserve policy that focuses on Bitcoin.
“We have also instituted our new treasury reserve policy, which states that Bitcoin will be the primary treasury reserve asset for the company for capital that exceeds our working capital needs.”
MicroStrategy plans to purchase even more bitcoins as the company generates cash beyond what it needs to run the business of a day-to-day basis.
Millions of (Unrealized) Profit
Having in mind Saylor’s averaged price when he bought his BTC stack, simple math shows that he spent a little over $175 million. As mentioned above, the 17,732 bitcoins now have a value of over $235 million. As such, his profit, should he choose to sell the coins now, would be north of $50 million.
Additionally, a popular cryptocurrency commentator Kevin Rooke brought up similar statistics regarding MicroStrategy’s numbers. He said that the Nasdaq-listed company had earned $78 million in the last three and a half years from their business endeavors. However, if they sell their BTC stack now, their profit will be about $100 million in just two months.
It’s worth noting that to register profit or a financial gain, one has to sell the asset he has previously purchased. Since neither MicroStrategy nor its CEO had actually disclosed selling their Bitcoin holdings, the numbers above provide a hypothetical viewpoint instead of hard numbers.
Featured Image Courtesy of The Business Journals
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