First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Was Weekend Warrior

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Bitcoin extended its uptrend over the weekend, reaching a high of $23,900 on Sunday, a level last seen on Aug. 17. The world’s largest cryptocurrency has since retreated to around $23,200. Since the start of the year, bitcoin has gained 40%. Ether is up 30% on the year. “Though the move was clearly led by above normal volumes in bitcoin, this weekend’s rally has been a shared rally with many altcoins putting in some healthy numbers,” said Laurent Kssis, crypto trading adviser at CEC Capital. “A correction and profit-taking should not be dismissed at these levels pushing down below 23K.” Additionally, the Fear and Greed Index, a metric designed to gauge the market sentiment of cryptocurrency at any given time, has flipped to “greed” from reading “neutral” as of Sunday.

Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried have argued he should be allowed access to assets and crypto held by his former company FTX, saying there's no evidence he's responsible for previous alleged unauthorized transactions. Bankman-Fried, who resigned as FTX's CEO in November when the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy, is free from jail on bail as he faces multiple federal criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. As part of his bail conditions, Bankman-Fried was prohibited from accessing cryptocurrency held by FTX and its affiliated trading arm, Alameda Research, after the government pointed to illicit transfers made from Alameda wallets. The bar includes crypto purchased with FTX or Alameda that Bankman-Fried didn't access or transfer, Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried's lawyer, wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the presiding judge in FTX's bankruptcy case, that was dated Saturday.

South Korea’s Ministry of Justice plans to start tracking crypto transactions as it looks to crack down on money laundering, it said in a report Thursday. The ministry will initially use third-party software to monitor transaction history, extract information on transactions and check the source of funds. It plans to develop its own system, which should be ready in the second half of the year. South Korean police signed an agreement last October with domestic crypto exchanges Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Corbit and Gopax, pledging cooperation in criminal investigations involving crypto. Bithumb is under investigation for tax evasion and price manipulation.

Chart of the Day

  • The chart on the left shows that gold bottomed out in early November and turned higher after that, leading bitcoin's bull revival by nearly two months.
  • The yellow metal's rally has stalled in the past few days, a cause for concern for the cryptocurrency bulls, according to Singapore-based QCP Capital.
  • "For gold, the $1,890-$1,900 support level is key. Gold should keep above this level for the crypto uptrend to hold," QCP Capital said in a market update published Friday.
  • "Besides equities, gold and USD price action have also been leading/driving crypto prices. What worries us here is that the USD is starting to show massive positive divergence," QCP added.

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