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Are Large Players Keeping Crypto Prices Up?


Parsad
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Crypto market is only a fraction of the equity, bond, commodity and real estate markets.  Are large institutional crypto holders keeping the crypto market afloat?

 

It would be relatively easy based on daily trading volumes for a handful of whales to keep some crypto prices up.  I suspect some of BTC's so-called stability in a time of crypto crisis may be due to large players buying up BTC on volatile days.  

 

These players would have to write down much of their crypto investments if prices fell, thus they keep supporting some coins in a bid to thwart any write-downs.  There must be some huge players out there that we don't know of...far bigger than can be identified, since identification of crypto owners is near impossible!

 

I'm talking certain sovereign funds, state-owned financial institutions, large hedge funds, black market players, etc.

 

Cheers!

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Hey man, we speak in the digital and it is the cool-cool new thing.  Problem is our price eventually is subject to firms assets vs liabities and such whatnot, thus we fail analog- that concept none of us know or care about.

 

 

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A lot of things can be 'hidden' on private books, and accounting conventions are often not applied.

Have to think that a lot of garbage is being moved off the public books via repo agreements, and that it isn't been done for free. The 'security' on that garbage is also going to be extreme, so expect to read of some 'accidents' next year. No new money, ability to avoid forced sales instead.

 

Same as with BTC; the 'real' security is not the crypto, it is who owns it. 

 

SD 

 

 

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From day 1, Bitcoin has had a huge tie to organized crime, cartels, drug trafficking, human trafficking, hackers, bad nation state actors, etc. 

 

Presumably many or all of these players are still involved at a significant level. 

 

I would expect all of these players would have similar incentives to save the market. 

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2 hours ago, RedLion said:

From day 1, Bitcoin has had a huge tie to organized crime, cartels, drug trafficking, human trafficking, hackers, bad nation state actors, etc. 

 

Presumably many or all of these players are still involved at a significant level. 

 

I would expect all of these players would have similar incentives to save the market. 

 

i would agree with you if the criminals kept their proceeds in bitcoin as an “investment”.

 

I imagine the criminals like bitcoin for the anonymous part.  Not the “investment” part.  The criminals quickly sell the bitcoin for cash… and buy BRK-B for “investment”.

 

At $20k/BC or $1/BC, criminals can still get $500 from a victim.

 

Edited by crs223
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I'm not really into this stuff, but isn't the purpose of the CZ/Binance-1B-"rescue"-fund exactly this?

I mean why you need a xB fund to grow trust again? If the "assets" are good and low valued. Great. Just buy them. I really don't get this.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-25/binance-s-crypto-rescue-fund-of-up-to-2-billion-fails-to-dispel-contagion-fears

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On 11/25/2022 at 12:30 PM, crs223 said:

 

i would agree with you if the criminals kept their proceeds in bitcoin as an “investment”.

 

I imagine the criminals like bitcoin for the anonymous part.  Not the “investment” part.  The criminals quickly sell the bitcoin for cash… and buy BRK-B for “investment”.

 

At $20k/BC or $1/BC, criminals can still get $500 from a victim.

 

I think a lot of the big fish criminals do keep proceeds in bitcoin as an investment, but I will admit that I can't back that up at all because I don't know how to trace BTC. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, RedLion said:
On 11/25/2022 at 3:30 PM, crs223 said:

 

i would agree with you if the criminals kept their proceeds in bitcoin as an “investment”.

 

I imagine the criminals like bitcoin for the anonymous part.  Not the “investment” part.  The criminals quickly sell the bitcoin for cash… and buy BRK-B for “investment”.

 

At $20k/BC or $1/BC, criminals can still get $500 from a victim.

 

Expand  

I think a lot of the big fish criminals do keep proceeds in bitcoin as an investment, but I will admit that I can't back that up at all because I don't know how to trace BTC. 

 

 

I'm sure that criminals and criminal organizations which invest have diversified portfolios including crypto, stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, etc.  I never hear anyone say "Criminals often use the US Dollar, we should get rid of the USD for that reason".   I'm sure even in 2022 the USD is used in crime far far more often than crypto.

 

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On 11/25/2022 at 11:35 AM, RedLion said:

From day 1, Bitcoin has had a huge tie to organized crime, cartels, drug trafficking, human trafficking, hackers, bad nation state actors, etc. 

 

Presumably many or all of these players are still involved at a significant level. 

 

I would expect all of these players would have similar incentives to save the market. 

 

🙄

 

Is it 2016 again? Haven't we beaten this horse to death that there is NO value to criminal organizations to have all your funds visible/trackable/black-listable on a public blockchain?

 

Can we put the trope of it being used for money laundering and drug deals to bed already? The USD is FAR more common in criminal enterprise than BTC ever was or will be. 

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4 hours ago, TwoCitiesCapital said:

 

🙄

 

Is it 2016 again? Haven't we beaten this horse to death that there is NO value to criminal organizations to have all your funds visible/trackable/black-listable on a public blockchain?

 

Can we put the trope of it being used for money laundering and drug deals to bed already? The USD is FAR more common in criminal enterprise than BTC ever was or will be. 

 

I think you're the one who scoffed at me for making a similar point earlier this year. I think there are some counterpoints to your position. 

 

The fact that you're making this argument after Silk Road doesn't pass the smell test to me, there was already huge involvement in 2013 at far lower Bitcoin prices. I am unaware of any regulatory or police framework that has evolved since 2013 to significantly lock down Bitcoin (or other crypto) drug transactions other than shutting down the Silk Road itself. 

 

The drug cartels were already heavily involved at the very earliest days and presumably made massive profits on any BTC that wasn't immediately liquidated. Have you ever read about Pablo Escobar? He was burying oil drums full of $100 bills all over two continents because there was so much cash there was no way to launder it. 

 

You say there is no value to a criminal organization in using BTC, but clearly they disagreed in pre 2013 Silk Road days. Also, I would argue that BTC clearly would have significant advantages over USD (physical cash) in the Pablo Escobar example again. Let's say you're delivering 1000 kilos of cocaine to your New Mexico connection and expect 1,000 bitcoins delivered to different wallets in small denominations, this seems like there would obviously be far more gray area to avoid detection by using BTC instead of USD. Is it possibly traceable by law enforcement? Sure. Is this subject to the scrutiny that US financial institutions are required by law to comply with? Hell no. 

 

I don't disagree that the USD is more common for criminal enterprise than BTC. It's also more common for every kind of enterprise everywhere in the world, and probably an unrealistic hurdle to compare BTC to the world reserve currency. I'm sure BTC is more common than ETH, and ETH more common than Dogecoin and so on. To put this another way, I bet there's more financial crimes committed in BTC than NZD by a long shot. 

 

Going back to the original point. There's clearly lots of shady players that have been involved, and might be involved, they certainly aren't filing public disclosures or SEC filings or even tax returns. Are some of those players big enough to manipulate the market? Almost certainly. Are they? If they think they can gain financial advantage, almost certainly. 

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6 hours ago, rkbabang said:

 

I'm sure that criminals and criminal organizations which invest have diversified portfolios including crypto, stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, etc.  I never hear anyone say "Criminals often use the US Dollar, we should get rid of the USD for that reason".   I'm sure even in 2022 the USD is used in crime far far more often than crypto.

 

 

To clarify, I never said we should get rid of BTC because of bad actors. I never even said that we should regulate it or not. I just said I think there are bad actors at play that have positions that no one can quantify, and these are the types of players that don't follow the rules and would absolutely manipulate a market to their advantage if they can get away with it. 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, RedLion said:

 

I think you're the one who scoffed at me for making a similar point earlier this year. I think there are some counterpoints to your position. 

 

The fact that you're making this argument after Silk Road doesn't pass the smell test to me, there was already huge involvement in 2013 at far lower Bitcoin prices. I am unaware of any regulatory or police framework that has evolved since 2013 to significantly lock down Bitcoin (or other crypto) drug transactions other than shutting down the Silk Road itself. 

 

The drug cartels were already heavily involved at the very earliest days and presumably made massive profits on any BTC that wasn't immediately liquidated. Have you ever read about Pablo Escobar? He was burying oil drums full of $100 bills all over two continents because there was so much cash there was no way to launder it. 

 

You say there is no value to a criminal organization in using BTC, but clearly they disagreed in pre 2013 Silk Road days. Also, I would argue that BTC clearly would have significant advantages over USD (physical cash) in the Pablo Escobar example again. Let's say you're delivering 1000 kilos of cocaine to your New Mexico connection and expect 1,000 bitcoins delivered to different wallets in small denominations, this seems like there would obviously be far more gray area to avoid detection by using BTC instead of USD. Is it possibly traceable by law enforcement? Sure. Is this subject to the scrutiny that US financial institutions are required by law to comply with? Hell no. 

 

I don't disagree that the USD is more common for criminal enterprise than BTC. It's also more common for every kind of enterprise everywhere in the world, and probably an unrealistic hurdle to compare BTC to the world reserve currency. I'm sure BTC is more common than ETH, and ETH more common than Dogecoin and so on. To put this another way, I bet there's more financial crimes committed in BTC than NZD by a long shot. 

 

Going back to the original point. There's clearly lots of shady players that have been involved, and might be involved, they certainly aren't filing public disclosures or SEC filings or even tax returns. Are some of those players big enough to manipulate the market? Almost certainly. Are they? If they think they can gain financial advantage, almost certainly. 

KYC at primary on-ramps and off-ramps destroyed any utility to criminal organizations which is why you're having to go back 9-years for your example. 

 

It was only beneficial when you could anonymously transact without scrutiny and get BTC off exchanges and into fiat. 

 

There have been major efforts to lock down on-ramps and off-ramps and to have KYC attached to specific wallets. Even wallets separate from major exchanges can be partly identified through forensics and transactions from known wallets. Hence why lots of BTC from criminal activities has been recoverable and many recent hacks have had proceeds returned because the wallets were blacklisted and couldn't spend the money. 

 

This has been discussed extensively in the Cryptocurrency main thread and is an argument that hasn't held water for years now. 

 

Having your criminal activities publicly viewable and balances publicly traceable is laughably stupid for criminal enterprise. 

Edited by TwoCitiesCapital
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40 minutes ago, RedLion said:

 

I think you're the one who scoffed at me for making a similar point earlier this year. I think there are some counterpoints to your position. 

 

The fact that you're making this argument after Silk Road doesn't pass the smell test to me, there was already huge involvement in 2013 at far lower Bitcoin prices. I am unaware of any regulatory or police framework that has evolved since 2013 to significantly lock down Bitcoin (or other crypto) drug transactions other than shutting down the Silk Road itself. 

 

The drug cartels were already heavily involved at the very earliest days and presumably made massive profits on any BTC that wasn't immediately liquidated. Have you ever read about Pablo Escobar? He was burying oil drums full of $100 bills all over two continents because there was so much cash there was no way to launder it. 

 

You say there is no value to a criminal organization in using BTC, but clearly they disagreed in pre 2013 Silk Road days. Also, I would argue that BTC clearly would have significant advantages over USD (physical cash) in the Pablo Escobar example again. Let's say you're delivering 1000 kilos of cocaine to your New Mexico connection and expect 1,000 bitcoins delivered to different wallets in small denominations, this seems like there would obviously be far more gray area to avoid detection by using BTC instead of USD. Is it possibly traceable by law enforcement? Sure. Is this subject to the scrutiny that US financial institutions are required by law to comply with? Hell no. 

 

I don't disagree that the USD is more common for criminal enterprise than BTC. It's also more common for every kind of enterprise everywhere in the world, and probably an unrealistic hurdle to compare BTC to the world reserve currency. I'm sure BTC is more common than ETH, and ETH more common than Dogecoin and so on. To put this another way, I bet there's more financial crimes committed in BTC than NZD by a long shot. 

 

Going back to the original point. There's clearly lots of shady players that have been involved, and might be involved, they certainly aren't filing public disclosures or SEC filings or even tax returns. Are some of those players big enough to manipulate the market? Almost certainly. Are they? If they think they can gain financial advantage, almost certainly. 

 

Here's a more recent example. 

 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-arrested-alleged-conspiracy-launder-45-billion-stolen-cryptocurrency

 

They couldn't spend the money because of the scrutiny on the wallets and we're eventually identified, arrested, and proceeds recovered. Bitcoin is terrible for criminal enterprise. 

 

Direct quotes from the article: 

"Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals"

 

"Federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow money through the blockchain, and that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TwoCitiesCapital
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12 hours ago, RedLion said:

I think a lot of the big fish criminals do keep proceeds in bitcoin as an investment, but I will admit that I can't back that up at all because I don't know how to trace BTC. 

 

 

It's a bit more nuanced. Big fish criminals prefer to use crypto, but they don't want to hold it as an investment. Part of the reason is how aggressive (see the authorization of John Doe summons that IRS got around August this year wrt SFOX) and how capable US is in pursuing and freezing these assets. The other bit is volatility. 

 

Here is a company that does this work and publishes regular reports. It's incomplete but gives you a glimpse of what is tracked. 

https://blog.chainalysis.com/reports/2022-crypto-crime-report-preview-ransomware/

 

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4 hours ago, TwoCitiesCapital said:

 

Here's a more recent example. 

 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-arrested-alleged-conspiracy-launder-45-billion-stolen-cryptocurrency

 

They couldn't spend the money because of the scrutiny on the wallets and we're eventually identified, arrested, and proceeds recovered. Bitcoin is terrible for criminal enterprise. 

These clowns were hilarious. Their network of wallet clusters (they had that many) and businesses were flagged and being monitored but the government only had a vague idea it was them.  Ilya had a poorly encrypted file with crypto addresses and list of all the businesses through which he was laundering money in cloud storage. Getting access and decrypting the file by gov't confirmed it was all them. The file was meticulous, organized, and even color-coded. Hell, they had a ziploc back labeled "burner phone" somewhere in their apartment. Can't make this stuff up. 

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I match your article and raise you another article. 
 

https://apnews.com/article/business-caribbean-mexico-crime-drug-cartels-1bb5ebf84fbf71baf6a845648bad4990

 

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/mexico-bitcoin-insight/latin-american-crime-cartels-turn-to-cryptocurrencies-for-money-laundering-idUSKBN28I1KD

 

can keep playing this game all day and I don’t even invest in crypto. 
 

I do know that the Mexican drug cartels are using btc increasingly up to this day and avoiding money laundering protocols. 
 

I think you are overly dismissive of this point, but honestly it probably helps the investment case for crypto more than it hurts, so maybe a moot point. 
 


 

 

Edited by RedLion
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I

5 hours ago, TwoCitiesCapital said:

 

Here's a more recent example. 

 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-arrested-alleged-conspiracy-launder-45-billion-stolen-cryptocurrency

 

They couldn't spend the money because of the scrutiny on the wallets and we're eventually identified, arrested, and proceeds recovered. Bitcoin is terrible for criminal enterprise. 

 

Direct quotes from the article: 

"Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals"

 

"Federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow money through the blockchain, and that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do you know how federal law enforcement work? 
 

they watch one case for years and years. Make deals with many unsavory characters as it serves them and then eventually make one arrest to make a big point while 99% of criminals continue to chug along. 
 

Our federal law enforcement literally still investigates marijuana through the mail schemes and so on and will collect evidence for 6 years before making an arrest. The thought that somehow they can magically control crypto to the same extent as financial institutions seems absurd to me, but maybe I really just don’t get it and this time it’s different. 

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1 hour ago, lnofeisone said:

It's a bit more nuanced. Big fish criminals prefer to use crypto, but they don't want to hold it as an investment. Part of the reason is how aggressive (see the authorization of John Doe summons that IRS got around August this year wrt SFOX) and how capable US is in pursuing and freezing these assets. The other bit is volatility. 

 

Here is a company that does this work and publishes regular reports. It's incomplete but gives you a glimpse of what is tracked. 

https://blog.chainalysis.com/reports/2022-crypto-crime-report-preview-ransomware/

 

Very interesting. 

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7 hours ago, TwoCitiesCapital said:

 

Here's a more recent example. 

 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-arrested-alleged-conspiracy-launder-45-billion-stolen-cryptocurrency

 

They couldn't spend the money because of the scrutiny on the wallets and we're eventually identified, arrested, and proceeds recovered. Bitcoin is terrible for criminal enterprise. 

 

Direct quotes from the article: 

"Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals"

 

"Federal law enforcement demonstrates once again that we can follow money through the blockchain, and that we will not allow cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness within our financial system"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TwoCities, while law enforcement is making some progress in tackling illegal crypto transactions, there are still multiple ways that transactions can remain private:

 

https://oneart.digital/en/blog/blockchain-privacy-is-it-all-so-anonymous

 

Also, you do realize that criminal organizations can create their own underground networks using blockchain, that law enforcement probably neither knows about, nor would be able to crack and link transactions to specific individuals or organizations.  

 

The lack of regulation on a global basis still makes crypto a refuge for those that want to partake in illegal activities that are non-traceable.  Cheers!

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14 hours ago, RedLion said:

 

I think you're the one who scoffed at me for making a similar point earlier this year. I think there are some counterpoints to your position. 

 

The fact that you're making this argument after Silk Road doesn't pass the smell test to me, there was already huge involvement in 2013 at far lower Bitcoin prices. I am unaware of any regulatory or police framework that has evolved since 2013 to significantly lock down Bitcoin (or other crypto) drug transactions other than shutting down the Silk Road itself. 

 

The drug cartels were already heavily involved at the very earliest days and presumably made massive profits on any BTC that wasn't immediately liquidated. Have you ever read about Pablo Escobar? He was burying oil drums full of $100 bills all over two continents because there was so much cash there was no way to launder it. 

 

You say there is no value to a criminal organization in using BTC, but clearly they disagreed in pre 2013 Silk Road days. Also, I would argue that BTC clearly would have significant advantages over USD (physical cash) in the Pablo Escobar example again. Let's say you're delivering 1000 kilos of cocaine to your New Mexico connection and expect 1,000 bitcoins delivered to different wallets in small denominations, this seems like there would obviously be far more gray area to avoid detection by using BTC instead of USD. Is it possibly traceable by law enforcement? Sure. Is this subject to the scrutiny that US financial institutions are required by law to comply with? Hell no. 

 

I don't disagree that the USD is more common for criminal enterprise than BTC. It's also more common for every kind of enterprise everywhere in the world, and probably an unrealistic hurdle to compare BTC to the world reserve currency. I'm sure BTC is more common than ETH, and ETH more common than Dogecoin and so on. To put this another way, I bet there's more financial crimes committed in BTC than NZD by a long shot. 

 

Going back to the original point. There's clearly lots of shady players that have been involved, and might be involved, they certainly aren't filing public disclosures or SEC filings or even tax returns. Are some of those players big enough to manipulate the market? Almost certainly. Are they? If they think they can gain financial advantage, almost certainly. 

Yes, but what is the point?   There are shady players in all markets involving anything of value. Diamonds, gold, real estate, stocks, expensive watches, .....   So what?

 

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2 hours ago, rkbabang said:

Yes, but what is the point?   There are shady players in all markets involving anything of value. Diamonds, gold, real estate, stocks, expensive watches, .....   So what?

 

 

All significantly less traceable than crypto...

 

As a matter of fact, crypto is being touted as a way to track commodities so you know their source specifically so we can trace things like blood diamonds and Russian oil exports. 🤔

 

Wonder why it's good enough for use in tracing commodities and their origins but still to anonymous and difficult to track when it comes to criminals and their money. 

Edited by TwoCitiesCapital
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6 hours ago, rkbabang said:

Yes, but what is the point?   There are shady players in all markets involving anything of value. Diamonds, gold, real estate, stocks, expensive watches, .....   So what?

 

 

Well my point was to provide an answer the original question about whether large players might be manipulating the market to hold crypto prices up. 

 

There's the motive, ability, and know how, so it's probably happening. It's fairly well documented that this has happened with most of the above items as well like Diamonds, silver, expensive watches, avocados, what have you, etc. I'm sure that there's a lot of diamonds and gold and expensive watches in the same hands. I literally just cited two articles showing that the Sinaloa and Cali cartels are using more BTC than ever via smurfing to avoid large transactions. One from earlier this year and one from 2020. This is what's called the tip of the iceberg.

 

I would actually expect that some of the shitcoins were probably cartel fronts at some level foisted on dumbass retail investors in a classic pump and dump. Just like these stupid in app games that can be used to launder drug money in thousands of small transactions, but probably even less ability to track. No one will ever know the true numbers, because such a small percentage of crime is ever solved, especially international drug crime. And I can guarantee you that these players aren't keeping hundreds of millions in one wallet like the morons referenced earlier in the thread. 

 

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13 hours ago, Parsad said:

Also, you do realize that criminal organizations can create their own underground networks using blockchain, that law enforcement probably neither knows about, nor would be able to crack and link transactions to specific individuals or organizations.  

 

The lack of regulation on a global basis still makes crypto a refuge for those that want to partake in illegal activities that are non-traceable.  Cheers!

 

That's a frightening thought. But of course, these are the same people that have literally dug innumerable tunnels straight into major American cities, have built submarines to transport drugs in the amazon river, etc. So the thought of an underground blockchain network seems completely feasible. 

 

You say it better than me, but I completely agree that crypto is a refuge for those that want to partake in illegal activities that are non-traceable. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, rkbabang said:

Yes, but what is the point?   There are shady players in all markets involving anything of value. Diamonds, gold, real estate, stocks, expensive watches, .....   So what?

 

 

All of the assets you mention can be confiscated by law enforcement.  Recently, BC is enacting new laws so as to be able to confiscate assets from people and organizations that can't prove where the wealth came from...believe it or not, the new Premier is extremely left wing, but is enacting some pretty centrist or right wing policies! 

 

Yet, it is extremely difficult still to confiscate crypto currency from criminal players.  Yes, they can trace some assets that they were having a hard time tracing in the past, but it certainly is harder to get your hands on those crypto assets compared to diamonds, gold, real estate, stocks, watches, etc.  Cheers!

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2 hours ago, RedLion said:

 

Well my point was to provide an answer the original question about whether large players might be manipulating the market to hold crypto prices up. 

 

There's the motive, ability, and know how, so it's probably happening. It's fairly well documented that this has happened with most of the above items as well like Diamonds, silver, expensive watches, avocados, what have you, etc. I'm sure that there's a lot of diamonds and gold and expensive watches in the same hands. I literally just cited two articles showing that the Sinaloa and Cali cartels are using more BTC than ever via smurfing to avoid large transactions. One from earlier this year and one from 2020. This is what's called the tip of the iceberg.

 

I would actually expect that some of the shitcoins were probably cartel fronts at some level foisted on dumbass retail investors in a classic pump and dump. Just like these stupid in app games that can be used to launder drug money in thousands of small transactions, but probably even less ability to track. No one will ever know the true numbers, because such a small percentage of crime is ever solved, especially international drug crime. And I can guarantee you that these players aren't keeping hundreds of millions in one wallet like the morons referenced earlier in the thread. 

 

 

Also, I'm actually less worried about the underworld criminal players trying to prop up crypto or other assets.  It's the large sovereign wealth funds, state pension plans, state-owned financial institutions around the world that have the capital to manipulate markets.  We've seen it with such simple things as regulated banks manipulating transaction fees or foreign exchange fees on a global basis.  It is very feasible that large funds are manipulating crypto markets, just like they've influenced other asset classes at times.  Cheers!

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