Crypto Markets Today: Binance a Target of Federal Probe

U.S. prosecutors are considering criminal charges against crypto exchange Binance and individual executives, including founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, Reuters reported, citing two people.

This article originally appeared in Crypto Markets Today, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter diving into what happened in today's crypto markets. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

  • The Department of Justice has also discussed possible plea deals with Binance's lawyers, the report added.
  • Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle began investigating Binance in 2018 after a spate of cases that saw criminals use Binance to transfer illicit funds, according to Reuters.
  • Other prosecutors believe that more evidence needs to be gathered before a criminal case can be filed, causing a split within the Department of Justice.
  • Binance refuted the Reuters article in a statement. Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange's global head of intelligence and investigations, said Binance has "responded to over 47,000 law enforcement requests" since November 2021.
  • According to a Binance spokesperson, “As has been reported widely, regulators are doing a sweeping review of every crypto company against many of the same issues. This nascent industry has grown quickly and Binance has shown its commitment to security and compliance through large investments in our team as well as the tools and technology we use to detect and deter illicit activity.”
  • Gambaryan added that Binance has increased its security and compliance headcount by more than 500% and that its team is "possibly even the strongest in the entire financial sector."

Token Roundup

(CoinDesk Research)

Bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH): The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization rebounded above the $17,000 level after dipping below this threshold earlier Monday amid traders’ anticipation of the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report on Tuesday. BTC traded as low as $16,882 over the past 24 hours. Ether followed a similar pattern, sliding below $1,250 before regaining ground to trade at about $1,275, up slightly from Sunday, same time.

Tron's decentralized algorithmic stablecoin (USDD): The USDD stablecoin, championed by Tron's founder Justin Sun and managed by Tron's decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), fell to slightly below 97 U.S. cents Monday, hitting its lowest level since June 22, according to data source CoinGecko. The decline violated the DAO's 3% price fluctuation threshold for price fluctuations to be considered de-pegs.

Chainlink (LINK): Chainlink’s new “staking” program was intended to be broad-based by limiting each wallet to 7,000 LINK tokens. But blockchain data shows one large holder – a “whale,” in crypto parlance – recently was able to get around the limits by creating more than 150 addresses – and then staking the full 7,000 LINK allotment from each of them. Chainlink’s LINK token was recently trading around $6.60 Monday, down 2.5% in the past 24 hours.

Latest Prices

−1.3 0.1%
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S&P 500 daily close
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Treasury Yield 10 Years
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET

Crypto Market Analysis: Atypically Bearish Early December Bodes Poorly for Bitcoin Investors

By Glenn Williams Jr.

Historical pricing data on bitcoin suggests crypto winter will likely worsen next month. So far this month, bitcoin investors have suffered an average 0.08% daily loss, which is far lower than the 0.20% historic average for December.

Spread over 30 trading days, investors would lose 2.4% compared to the 6% gains they notched for bitcoin in past Decembers.

Since 2014, bitcoin's average daily returns have historically been the lowest in January. What's made these dips less troublesome in past years is that December and February have traditionally been strong months for the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Average daily BTC returns by month (CoinMarketCap/CoinDesk)

Read the full technical take here.

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