Marvel and DC comics heroes 

The Bitcoin price dropped to $44k near press time after spending much of the weekend in the $44k-$46k range. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is currently facing intensifying pressure from resurgent bears who grabbed the opportunity to be relevant again. Apart from Bitcoin, Altcoins were also trending downwards with many of them recording massive losses. More on that later on.

In other news, two comic book giants Marvel and DC Comics are looking to stop their current and former artists from getting into the NFT space. Some of these artists were trying to sell NFTs of their artworks on famous comic book superheroes but since Marvel and DC own those characters and their comic book adaptations, they might be barred from doing so. More on that later on.

India’s income tax department may soon target cryptocurrency traders and other stakeholders in the vast ecosystem. The second most populous country in the world has seen encouraging development in the sector in recent years with more and more crypto companies entering it. However, the sector is very loosely regulation at the moment with little or no rules regarding taxation, etc. So, once the tax hawks are done with it, it might get difficult to conduct business in this sector in the country.

Microstrategy has announced that it has bought more Bitcoin worth $230 million. The latest purchase of 5,050 BTC back when it was priced at around $48.9k. Now the index has dropped to $44k but the company has no plans of selling it. Michael Saylor, the company’s CEO is staying steadfast on his decision to hold the cryptocurrency in the long-term. But, some of his top management certainly doesn’t think so and they dumped the company stock recently according to SEC filings. 

Bitcoin Drops to $44k

Bitcoin is currently trading around $44k at press time. The cryptocurrency is slightly low from Saturday’s closing point but significantly so as it is approaching some key support levels. The $43k-$44k levels are important for the bulls to defend, otherwise the short-term bullish sentiment will be in jeopardy.

The last 24 hours started with the index at around $45.8k. The cryptocurrency then dipped below to $45k before making a recovery back above $46k at around 1 AM. Then, it started to dip again. The Bitcoin index went on a downward curve that was steady and took most of the day. It went below $45k initially and then touched $44k. However, at around 3:30 PM, the index experienced a bizarre trading event when the index suddenly shot towards $46.6k and then came crashing back down again in a matter of minutes. By 4:15, the index was back around $44k and even went below it for a short while to $43.6k. After that, the cryptocurrency recovered above $44k and has stayed there ever since.

Going forward, apart from the odd 45 minute earlier today, it is getting tough for the bulls out there. Despite the recent bull run, the index didn’t fully come out of the long-term bearish bias and the price tank below $50k has opened possible floodgates for a bearish revival. The bears are coming back into the picture especially if they continue to bring the index further and further down. The bulls on the other hand need to defend the $44k support really well otherwise even the short-term bullish setup will be in danger. Traders will need to keep eyes on the screen for this support. 

The total market capitalization of Bitcoin was around $835 billion and its share of the proceedings was 41.12%.

Altcoins Post Losses

Other cryptocurrencies aka altcoins posted losses during the weekend and continued on Monday. The major loser was ofcourse Solana (SOL, -7%) that returned to #7 in the charts below Ripple’s XRP after recording a big loss on Sunday. Cardano (ADA, -12%) also lost big as it came below $2.5. Terra (LUNA, -8%), Avalanche (AVAX, -14%) and Chainlink (LINK, -8%) were among other big losers. 

Solana chart

In Other News…..

Marvel and DC Comics Want Full Ownership of NFTs

Top comic book producing companies Marvel and DC Comics are looking to end private sale of NFTs by their former or currently employed artists. Some of these innovators had been selling their drawings and other unique comic book artwork online as NFTs but the two corporations are now looking to crack down hard on them. They simply want to retain the ownerships of the work these artists have done that will ultimately give them a duopoly over all comic book NFTs in the market.

Marvel is already leading the charge in that space with the company releasing some Spiderman NFTs just last month. It has however, given the artists a lollipop by offering them secondary revenue resource opportunities through the VeVe platform. 

Prisoner behind bars 

A clerk at Suffolk County offices, Christopher Naples, has been accused of strategically putting Bitcoin mining rigs in his workplace at the New York county's Riverhead Center. An IT operations supervisor, Naples is said to have connected up to 46 devices to mine the leading cryptocurrency.

The IT supervisor concealed the BTC rigs in "underneath floorboards" and electrical wall panels. It's believed that some of the devices have been in operation since February this year.

According to Suffolk County district attorney Timothy Sini, crypto mining operations require "an enormous amount of resources." Sini observed that cryptocurrency mining equipment consumes huge amounts of electrical power, and miners also incur "cooling costs." The attorney noted that Naples found a way to provide the resources but "unfortunately," it was at the expense "of taxpayers."

Reports claim that the IT supervisor's actions caused Suffolk County an additional 6,000 USD in electrical costs. Some of the legal implications of Naples' behavior include being charged with theft of personal property and computer trespass. If convicted, the BTC miner stares at a possible jail time of up 15 years.

Naples Pleads Not Guilty, Released Without Bail

Sini was quoted by a news outlet saying that it's unacceptable for "county employees, who are already on the public payroll" to burden taxpayers by using "government resources for their own personal gain." Interestingly, the IT supervisor was released without bail after pleading not guilty.

As Naples awaits a call from investigators, Ghaleb Alaumary, a US-Canadian citizen, was imprisoned for 11 years for helping North Korean military hackers.

According to a federal court in the United States, he will also part with 30 million US dollars in restitution. Located in Ontario, Alaumary agreed with charges of helping the hackers launder their ill-gotten wealth.

He acted as the hackers' ATM and formulated ways to cash out funds with the help of others. For instance, he helped withdraw funds received from BankIslami, a Pakistani financial institution. With BankIslami, the North Korean hackers were able to override fraud checks and manipulate withdrawal limits and balances. The bank lost over six million US dollars.

Apart from assisting the hackers in moving dirty money, the US-Canadian citizen also pleaded guilty to fraudulently receiving close to ten million US dollars from a Canadian university by masquerading as a representative of a construction company.

North Korean Crypto Hackers Have Stollen $1.7 Billion USD In Crypto

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Alaumary "laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals," and cryptocurrency. Reports suggest that Hong Kong-based crypto hackers have managed to siphon a total of 1.7 billion USD worth of crypto from virtual currency exchanges.

While Alaumary starts his 11-year sentence, Michael Ackerman may be sentenced to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to coning investors over 30 million USD.

According to available information, the Ohio man convinced investors to join Q3 Trading Club and deposit US dollars. In return, he would offer a guaranteed 15 percent return after every 30 days.

Audrey Strauss, a Southern District of New York attorney, disclosed that the accused "admitted [to raising] millions of dollars in investments for his fake cryptocurrency scheme."

To strengthen his 15 percent monthly return claim, the attorney revealed that Ackerman doctored his fund's financial records to portray a balance of over 300 million USD. However, the DOJ unearthed that the fund's balance never exceeded $5,000,000.

Court documents also disclosed that the Ohio man used $9 million investors' funds to buy vehicles, real estate and live a lavish lifestyle.

"Invest and Trade in Bitcoin"

According to Strauss, Ackerman told investors that the funds would "be used to invest and trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."

Strauss added that "under the terms of his plea, Ackerman agreed to make restitution of at least" 30.6 million USD. He also agreed to forfeit the jewelry, real estate, and other items "fraudulently obtained" using the victims' funds.

Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new investor alert on investment scams focusing on cryptocurrencies. The SEC hinged the rise in crypto scams to increasing cryptocurrency popularity.

In a statement, the securities watchdog noted that investors might be driven by fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. The SEC advised investors to "be cautious if" they encounter red flags such as "' guaranteed' high investments returns […], unlicensed/unregistered sellers […], skyrocketing account values […], sounds too good to be true, [… and] fake testimonials."

El Salvador Bitcoin 

On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador. In preparation for the day, the country's president, Nayib Bukele, said that they have added to their Bitcoin bag.

El Salvador started with 200 Bitcoin, with Nayib promising to increase the amount "as the deadline" to BTC becoming legal tender approaches. True to his word, El Salvador increased the amount by an additional 200 BTC within hours. In a tweet, Bukele observed that the country "now holds 400 Bitcoin."

At the time of the purchase, Bitcoin's price was on an upward trajectory. However, this changed when the leading coin plummeted from above $51,000 to the $42,000 zone. El Salvador took the chance to buy more.

In a tweet, Bukele confirmed the purchase of an additional 150 coins. "Thanks for the dip. We saved a million in printed paper. El Salvador now holds 550 Bitcoin," the El Salvadoran president said.

Blame the crypto crash on Bitcoin Whales and "IMF and Boomer Elites"

Interestingly, some in the crypto community were skeptical about how the dip happened when El Salvador was officially putting the USD alongside BTC. For instance, a Twitter user observed that the "IMF and Boomer Elites" deliberately crashed the Bitcoin market to "send a message to El Salvador."

Another Twitter user observed that while technical analysis "pointed" in the direction of a possible dip, "the timing with El Salvador" was suspicious and wondered whether "some entity is trying to embarrass" the country for taking the Bitcoin route.

Peter Schiff, a BTC critic, noted that "the dip may end up being a much larger plunge than" expected. Apart from Bitcoin, the price plunge was felt across the crypto ecosystem.

Although most coins have considerably recovered from the crash, they are yet to return to their previous glory. At the time of writing, BTC had dropped over 10 percent in the last 24 hours, while Ethereum (ETH) had lost slightly above 11 percent within the same period.

McDonald's Starts Accepting Bitcoin in El Salvador

According to analysts, the crypto market crash was caused by BTC whales who dumped their holdings on the day El Salvador's Bitcoin law came to effect.

Now that BTC is legal tender in El Salvador, the country has said that merchants are obligated to process Bitcoin-related transactions. While appearing in an interview on a local media outlet, Bukele's legal counsel, Javier Argueta, noted that businesses could decide whether to keep the BTC after honoring the transaction.

In a translated version of the interview, Argueta clarified that failure to accept BTC would be a violation of the country's laws. A local media publication noted that "if [a] business does not accept it [BTC], it is exposed to referrals of infractions to the Consumer Protection Law."

Notably, the government-backed crypto wallet, Chivo, allows merchants to change BTC to USD automatically.

To adhere to the new law, McDonald's, a global fast-food giant, has started accepting the leading cryptocurrency in El Salvador. This was revealed by Aaron van Wirdum who went to test whether the fast-food restaurant accepts BTC.

Although he noted that he was "fully expecting to be told no," this was not the case. To his surprise, McDonald "printed a ticket with QR that took [him] to a webpage with  Lightning invoice."

Panama Follows El Salvador's Footsteps, Moves to Legalize Bitcoin

As El Salvador embarks on actualizing BTC as a legal tender, Panama has made a move towards following its footsteps. Gabriel Silva, a member of the Panamanian Congress, has crafted a bill meant to legalize cryptocurrencies.

Also, the bill seeks to make the leading crypto an alternative payment option in Panama. Dubbed the "Crypto Law," the Congressman tweeted that it aims to make the country "compatible with the blockchain, crypto assets, and the internet."

According to the lawmaker, the bill's contents majorly involve making cryptocurrencies an alternative payment method. If it becomes law, it will open the door for commercial use of crypto on fronts previously blocked from doing so.

Notably, the bill is divided into five segments. The first segment involves boosting the digitization of citizens and state entities in the country to enhance transparency. Another objective revolves around providing certainty around fiscal, regulatory, and legal matters. It also focuses on interfacing systems with smart contracts and other forms of "trust-building between people and business." Additionally, the bill seeks to improve ways to access the country's inhabitants.

Cryptocurrency news 

The past week was not great for dedicated Bitcoin maximalists, as the largest cryptocurrency on the market noted a sudden and significant drop in price. However, this time the altcoin market didn’t follow in Bitcoin’s tracks, and many alternative cryptocurrencies managed to achieve impressive gains even though the BTC price was falling down. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting developments that happened on the altcoin market over the past week:

SOL Price Skyrockets as Solana Flips XRP

Solana (SOL) is quickly becoming one of the most serious competitors to Ethereum. The SOL price has appreciated by 75% in a week and reached a new all-time high of almost $215.

According to the experts, the main reason for the rapid pace at which the Solana price has been rising over the past few weeks is the constant popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens. Numerous new NFT projects launching on the Solana network are generating tremendous interest of crypto enthusiasts and a massive inflow of funds to the SOL blockchain.

Achieving the market capitalization of $59 Billion means that Solana was able to surpass XRP as the 6th largest cryptocurrency in the ecosystem. In order to enter the list of top 5 coins by market capitalization, the market cap of Solana would need to grow by another $10 Billion.

Solana price chart

Cardano Disappoints as the ADA Price Falls

Becoming the third largest cryptocurrency on the market was certainly a milestone in the development of Cardano (ADA), and there’s no doubt that ADA can be considered one of the most profitable crypto assets of 2021. However, it seems like the Cardano bull rally might finally be coming to an end, as the ADA price has sharply declined by 17.5% over the past week.

The problems of Cardano are linked to the underwhelming launch of the Alonzo update to the ADA blockchain, which was hyped as a groundbreaking upgrade supposed to turn Cardano into a next-generation smart contracts platform that would become a true Ethereum-killer. In reality, the Alonzo update seems to be troubled with significant issues, and the users of the first ADA-based decentralized exchange called Minswap are reporting numerous problems.

Although Cardano is still the third largest cryptocurrency on the market, the situation might soon change. If the technical issues with the smart contracts functionality of ADA are not fixed soon, coins like BNB and SOL might soon replace ADA in market capitalization.

Stablecoins Prove They Are Truly Stable as the BTC Price Falls

When the Bitcoin price sharply declined by over $5,000 in a short time, numerous investors rallied their funds to the exchanges - some to sell their BTC to cut losses, and some to buy the dip by acquiring more bitcoins. Naturally, this sudden turmoil on the market has caused a massive spike in the volume of stablecoins, which are now the most common medium with which the investors buy and sell Bitcoin.

According to on-chain data analysis, the average daily stablecoin volumes increased by 75%-100% shortly after the Bitcoin price drop. But the most important information is that stablecoins proved their usefulness by remaining stable, and not deviating from the dollar peg even during rampant price action and sudden growth in volume.

The data shows that the three most stable stablecoins on the market are USDC, PAX and BUSD, with the average deviation from the US Dollar of around $0.001-$0.002. Decentralized stablecoins were shown to be over twice less stable than their centralized counterparts: UST, FRAX and FEI were the least stable stablecoins, and had an average deviation of around $0.004-$0.005.

Fetch.ai Grows by 42% In a Week

Fetch.ai (FET) is still a relatively less known token, but the current FET price action shows that it might soon become a very popular crypto asset. Despite the fact that the prices of Bitcoin and other major assets were falling down, Fetch.ai was able to appreciate by over 42% in just 7 days.

Fetch.ai is a project that claims to combine blockchain-based solutions such as smart contracts with artificial intelligence and machine learning. But while many crypto projects in the past used AI as a marketing buzzword, Fetch.ai might be the first one to actually have used a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain in a useful way.

On September 7th, a Fetch.ai algorithm on board of a Tesla vehicle was used to autonomously identify the car while entering gated communities and parking. If the technology developed by Fetch.ai becomes mainstream in self-driving cars, the recent price rise of FET might be just the beginning of a massive rally.

 

Judge Sarah Netburn has directed Ripple to provide missing messages to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The order came despite Ripple opposing it on the basis that it would cost $1,000,000. According to Netburn, the over one million Slack messages are key to the SEC’s quest to unearth that the crypto-based company was dealing with securities.

In December last year, the SEC took Ripple Labs and top Ripple officials, Brad Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen, to court over selling XRP. According to the SEC, XRP is a security and was sold without following the securities laws.

The SEC reasoned that the messages from Ripple employees were “proportional to the needs of the case.” Apart from employees’ communications on Slack, the securities regulator also wants to get hold of email communications.

In August, the securities watchdog told the judge that messages earlier produced by Ripple seemed to be incomplete.

At the time, Ripple first said that it had provided everything but later admitted it could not provide all the messages due to a processing hitch. Interestingly, the glitch left out over one million messages.

Did Ripple Have Prior Knowledge on XRP’s Regulatory Status

The judge said Ripple’s conduct of withholding the communications was extensively “prejudicial” since the previously released messages indicated that the missing communications were critically important.

Notably, the communications left out covered Ripple’s intention to drive “speculative trading in XRP” and how announcements from the multi-billion company would affect XRP’s price. Also, the SEC believes the messages cover XRP’s regulatory status.

To protest providing the messages, Ripple argued that the process would cost be costly. Unfortunately, Judge Netburn reasoned that their importance outweighed the cost.

The judge added that “any burden to Ripple is outweighed by [...] the relative resources of the parties.”

The order compelling Ripple to produce more messages comes on the heels of a motion by Ripple seeking to know if the SEC’s employees hold any virtual currencies and its policies around cryptocurrency trading.

The SEC Reveals its Internal Trading Policies, Ripple Says It Needs More

In its motion, Ripple claims that the securities watchdog has failed to disclose a subset of information crucial to understanding how the SEC treats virtual currency trading.

The San Francisco-based virtual currency-focused company wants the securities regulator to tell whether its employees own XRP. Notably, this is not the first time Ripple is seeking to get the regulator’s internal trading policies.

Two months ago in June, Judge Netburn ruled in favor of Ripple and ordered the SEC to furnish Ripple with the guidelines. However, while the regulator produced them, Ripple observed that it needed more.

The regulator revealed its guiding rules governing its employees’ interaction with crypto trading. The information revealed that the SEC hadn’t prohibited its employees from investing in virtual assets up until the start of 2018.

Ripple extrapolated the guidance to mean that the SEC is yet to consider virtual assets “as securities.”

As such, Ripple noted, between 2013 and January 2018, the SEC allowed its employees “to buy, sell and hold XRP without any restriction by the SEC. [...] the SEC itself had not concluded that sales and offers of XRP were transactions in securities.”

SEC Made It Hard to Establish Whether It’s a Security or Not, Ripple

The timeframe also indicated that the SEC didn’t give XRP fair notice before labelling XRP a security. According to Ripple, the information provided regarding SEC’s internal trading policies indicated that after 2018, the regulator left a lot to interpretation, and it was hard to know which was or wasn’t a security.

Ripple also noted that the SEC’s decision on whether a digital asset was a security or not was based on a preclearance assessment based on a case-by-case analysis.

The San Francisco-based company argued that this made it difficult to know “whether the SEC actually prohibited or allowed transactions in XRP.” Ripple continued to observe that the regulator “has refused to provide [...] the preclearance documents.”

Recently, Ripple won against the SEC on other fronts. In a recent teleconference, Judge Netburn sided with Ripple noting that Brad Garlinghouse didn’t know XRP is a security until the SEC took it to court in 2020.

Ripple’s attorney also noted that the SEC is excessively relying on the deliberative process procedures to block scrutiny of its internal documents. After a heated exchange, Judge Netburn agreed to do a personal on-camera audit of the records before providing a ruling.