US Justice Department establishes a national cryptocurrency enforcement team

Hello and welcome to the weekly edition of Overbit Weekly Round Up.

The first story in this week’s issue concerns the Justice Department’s establishment of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. The announcement comes as law enforcement and regulators in the United States continue to explore ways to disrupt illegal bitcoin transactions.

According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the new unit will pursue cryptocurrency offences and assist in the recovery of criminal proceeds.

This new initiative would strengthen the DOJ’s ability “to dismantle the financial entities that enable criminal actors to flourish—and quite frankly to profit—from abusing cryptocurrency platforms,” according to Ms Monaco, including virtual currency “mixer” or “tumbler”, which charge customers a fee to send cryptocurrencies to a designated address in a manner designed to conceal the source or owner of the currency.

The team would draw on experience from the Department of Justice’s criminal division’s money-laundering and asset recovery department, as well as its computer crime and intellectual property section, as well as U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country.

The Biden administration banned a Russian-owned cryptocurrency exchange this month for allegedly assisting in laundering ransomware payments to prevent future cyber-extortion assaults by undermining their principal source of profit.

According to the US Justice Department, Larry Dean Harmon, the owner of a bitcoin “mixer” named Helix, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money in August. He was also penalised $60 million by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a U.S. Treasury Department unit, for allegedly breaking anti-money-laundering regulations.

Closing out this week’s edition of Overbit Weekly Round Up, we take a look at recent price action as well as some headlines from big names in the investing industry.

Last month, China issued a blanket ban on transactions, and U.S. financial watchdogs are investigating some of the biggest crypto exchanges. After ensuing crashes and crackdowns through the summer, Bitcoin has been steadily regaining its prior highs. Prices have climbed to their highest point since El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender in early September. Bitcoin increased by 2.8 per cent to $50,000 in New York. Overall, prices have risen by more than 60% from July’s low.

A newly issued Bank of America report shows that enthusiasm for crypto is gaining traction on Wall Street despite its many controversies. The digital assets universe is “too large to ignore,” wrote strategists including Alkesh Shah and Andrew Moss.

In the eyes of Bank of America, more regulation, which seems to be only a matter of time, could be a positive for crypto in the long run. Once rules are established, the strategists wrote that the uncertainty over investing in crypto would be lifted.

As for price action, according to a report by Arcane Research, Bitcoin has broken through two critical resistance levels and is currently trading at the top end of its two-month-long consolidation zone. For a time, the currency was stuck around $45,000 until eventually breaking out. According to the study, the $46,000-$48,000 range is a solid support level, and the currency may trade in that range for a long time.

Katie Stockton, managing partner and founder of FairLead Strategies, wrote that the cryptocurrency might soon be on its way to testing its April all-time high near $65,000. “We expect short-term overbought conditions to be weathered long enough for a test of minor resistance near $52.9K, a breakout above which would target the all-time high,” she said.

“The Bitcoin price has moved around quite a lot even recently and so when we see dips in prices, we often see that as an opportunity and investors moving in to buy those dips,” Grayscale Investments CEO Michael Sonnenshein said in an interview as part of the Bloomberg Invest Global conference.

Also speaking at the conference was Dawn Fitzpatrick, CEO and chief investment officer of Soros Fund Management LLC. She said her firm holds some coins and noted that crypto “has gone mainstream”.

All in all, it seems like quite the news one would expect as we head into the end of the year, historically one of the most bullish timeframes for cryptocurrency. We’ll be on the lookout for more announcements and analyses like these in the near future.

Thanks as always, and happy weekend!

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