Top Cryptocurrency Coin Mixer Seized; Grayscale Investments 'Big News' Today; More Records for CME's Bitcoin Futures

Major crypto headlines from the past 24 hours: European authorities enforce a world-first seizure of a leading cryptocurrency coin mixer; New York-headquartered Grayscale Investment set to drop "big news" today; and the all-time highs continue for CME Group's bitcoin futures contracts.

The cryptocurrency market has endured some significant selling over the past day. At the time of writing, bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are trading at $7,588.2 and $234.5; a 4.3% and 8.6% decline over the past 24 hours, respectively. As for the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index, it is currently tracking at 3,594.3 (-2.2%).

‘First Law Enforcement Action of its Kind’ Sees Top Crypto Coin Mixer Shutdown

The Dutch Financial Criminal Investigative Service (FIOD) – with the assistance of Europol and Luxembourg authorities – announced the seizure and closure of one of the three largest cryptocurrency mixer services in the world, Bestmixer.io.

This marked the “first law enforcement action of its kind against” a cryptocurrency mixer service, according to a press release from Europol. “A cryptocurrency tumbler or cryptocurrency mixing service is a service offered to mix potentially identifiable or ‘tainted’ cryptocurrency funds with others, so as to obscure the trail back to the fund’s original source,” the statement explained.

Despite the apparent victory for law enforcement, “authorities will come to regret the chain reaction that they are starting here,” according to Cornell associate professor of computer science, Emin Gün Sirer. Explaining his rational, Sirer tweeted “this kind of shutdown creates selective pressure for tumblers that cannot be shutdown. And we know, from the research world, that it’s possible to build much better ones.”

CEO of Cryptoasset Investment Giant Teases ‘Big News’ Today

Grayscale Investments – one of the world’s leading cryptoasset management firms – will be dropping some “big news” at 13:00 (UTC), its founder and chief executive Barry Silbert teased on Twitter.

Grayscale - a Digital Currency Group subsidiary - has been noticeably active on the publicity front in recent times. On May 1, it launched the largest mass media campaign the industry has ever seen and, in the time since, Silbert has been doing the rounds on the media circuit, appearing for interviews on the likes of Bloomberg, FOX Business, and Yahoo Finance.

Records Continue for CME Group’s Bitcoin Futures

CME Group – a world-leading derivatives marketplaces that also offers bitcoin futures contracts – revealed “May is shaping up to be the strongest month ever for CME Bitcoin Futures” in a client email sent on Tuesday.

According to the Chicago-based CME Group, they facilitated the trading of a staggering 33,677 bitcoin futures contracts on May 13; a new daily record. In U.S. dollar terms, this roughly equates to $1.3 billion. The firm also told clients the number of accounts trading its bitcoin futures contracts has risen to over 2,500 – also a new record high.

JPMorgan Chase Accused of Fixing Metal Prices Despite Talk of Bitcoin Market Manipulation

  • Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase's metals desk has been accused of 'thousands' of trades related to price-fixing.
  • US prosecutors have invoked RICO laws against the bank which are reserved for organized crime rings. 

While the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory bodies have been critical of bitcoin over market manipulation, new reports reveal that JPMorgan Chase is facing allegations of fixing prices for precious metals. 

JPMorgan Chase Price-Fixing

According to a report by Bloomberg on Sept. 16, U.S. prosecutors have invoked the racketeering law (RICO) against JPMorgan Chase’s metals desk, which is being described as a criminal enterprise. For nearly a decade, employees of the trading desk have allegedly engaged in thousands of illegal moves to price-fix precious metals and defraud market investors. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski told journalists, 

Based on the fact that it was conduct that was widespread on the desk, it was engaged in in thousands of episodes over an eight-year period -- that it is precisely the kind of conduct that the RICO statute is meant to punish.

RICO is typically reserved for only the most severe, organized crime rings, with former prosecutors calling it a bold move by the Justice Department against the bank. Prosecutors claim that more than a dozen employees participated in the scheme, with two having already pleaded guilty and cooperating with authorities. 

Crypto supporters have been quick to point out the irony in JPMorgan’s situation. Jamie Dimon, CEO of the Wall Street bank, has been one of the most vocal detractors of bitcoin over the years, famously calling the crypto-asset a “fraud” in Sept. 2017.

 

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