Joseph OConnor, known in some corners of the internet as PlugWalkJoe, was indicted on an array of charges relating to a May 2019 cryptocurrency exchange hack. During the attack, he is alleged to have absconded with digital assets valued at approximately $784,000.
In the criminal scheme, authorities believe O’Connor utilized SIM swap attacks (an artifice of fraud where 2FA phone calls and text messages are rerouted to a device controlled by the scammer) on three separate executives at an undisclosed cryptocurrency company to take control of their employers systems. OConnor may have then diverted over 7 BTC, 407 ETH, 6363 LTC and 770 BCH from wallets maintained by the corporation on behalf of their users to wallets under his own control.
The indictment was brought by the US Attorneys office in the Southern District of New York, which is well known for its prosecution of high profile financial crimes. The case is assigned to Judge Richard Berman and was investigated by the FBI. OConnor is specifically charged with conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The identity theft count carries a mandatory minimum of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
OConnor is currently fighting extradition to the United States from Spain, where he was arrested in July on charges brought in the Northern District of California related to the 2020 Twitter hack in which he is alleged to have gained control of 130 separate prominent twitter accounts including those of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Apple and Kanye West. The guilty parties used these accounts to promote a cryptocurrency scam before making off with about $110k in ill gotten gains.
Ether (ETH) investors have no reason to complain after the 344% gains accumulated in 2021 until Nov. 24. Still, analysts fear that the $4,000 resistance test on Nov. 19 is forming a descending channel that aims at $3,600 by mid-December, an 18% correction from the current $4,400 price.
Despite outperforming Bitcoin (BTC) by 16% in the past month alone and the ETH/BTC pair climbing to 10-week highs, Ether seems to be struggling with its own success.
Users continue to complain about Ethereum gas fees, averaging over $45 over the past three weeks. However problematic that can be, it leaves no doubt that the largest decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFT) markets continue to thrive on Ethereum.
Increasing regulatory uncertainties in the United States remain a decisive limiting factor for Ether’s rally. On Nov. 24, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, clarified that the crypto panel in the public meeting scheduled for Dec. 2 would focus on the regulatory framework.
Not even the one million ETH burned since the implementation of EIP-1559 in August was enough to keep Ether’s price at all-time highs. As the network emits about 5.4 million ETH per year, Ether remains an inflationary asset. Still, Ether’s price increased by 16% vs. Bitcoin since Oct. 25, partially reflecting that impact.
Bullish calls dominate Nov. 26’s ETH options expiry
Despite the 10% correction to $4,400 since the $4,850 all-time high on Nov. 10, the Ether call (buy) options vastly dominate Nov. 26’s expiry.
The green area representing the $820 million call (buy) options is the lion’s share of Nov. 26 expiry. Compared to the $440 million puts (sell) instruments, there’s an 87% difference.
Nevertheless, the 1.87 call-to-put ratio should not be taken literally, as the recent ETH drop will likely wipe out 77% of the bullish bets. For instance, if Ether’s price remains below $4,400 at 8:00 am UTC on Nov. 26, only $165 million worth of those call (buy) options will be available at the expiry.
In other words, what good is holding the right to buy Ether at $4,400 or $4,600 if it’s trading below that price?
Bears need sub-$4,200 ETH to balance the scales
Below are the three most likely scenarios based on the current price action. The number of option contracts available on Nov. 26 for bulls (call) and bear (put) instruments vary depending on the expiry ETH price. The imbalance favoring each side constitutes the theoretical profit:
Below $4,100: 15,400 calls vs. 15,200 puts. The result is balanced.
Between $4,200 and $4,500: 38,400 calls vs. 8,800 puts. The net result is $130 million favoring the call (buy) instruments.
Above $4,500: 50,200 calls vs. 2,300 puts. The net result favors the call (bull) instruments by $215 million.
This crude estimate considers call options being used in bullish bets and put options exclusively in neutral-to-bearish trades. Still, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.
For example, a trader could have sold a put option, effectively gaining a positive exposure to Ether above a specific price. But unfortunately, there’s no easy way to estimate this effect.
Both sides have incentives to move price
Bears need a 7.5% move from $4,400 down to sub-$4,100 to balance the scales and avoid a $130 million loss. On the other hand, bulls need a 2.3% price increase to $4,500 to boost their profits by $85 million.
Traders must consider that the amount of effort a seller needs to pressure the price is immense and usually ineffective during bullish markets. Currently, options market incentives are balanced, favoring the $4,200 to $4,500 price range, entitling bulls to a $130 million profit on Friday, Nov. 26.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Changes to the rules governing activities of crypto exchanges in Uzbekistan now allow residents to trade coins on licensed platforms. Uzbekistanis could previously only sell their digital assets. The new provisions also regulate the issuance of tokens and their listing.
Uzbekistan Loosens Restrictions on Domestic Crypto Trading
Uzbekistanis will be able to trade digital currencies on the country’s licensed crypto exchanges. This has become possible after the National Agency for Project Management (NAPM) under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev recently amended the rules pertaining to local cryptocurrency trade.
According to the new regulations, residents of Uzbekistan can buy, sell, and exchange crypto assets domestically for their national currency, Forklog reported, quoting a decree issued by the agency’s director. Non-residents are allowed to exchange cryptocurrencies for foreign fiat as well.
Uzbekistan legalized crypto trading in 2018 but in late 2019 the government banned local residents from purchasing cryptocurrencies. They could only sell. The regulatory body explained that the lifting of the restrictions has to do with citizens changing their approach to crypto investing which has become “more rational and balanced.”
In September this year, the NAPM warned against trading on unregistered platforms, reminding residents that in accordance with the presidential decree “On measures to develop the digital economy in the Republic of Uzbekistan” and the law “On licensing and notification procedures,” crypto exchange operations are subject to licensing.
The amendments further concern the issuance and trading of digital tokens. The National Agency for Project Management prohibits the listing of unsecured tokens on local exchanges. The regulations define tokens as a unit of account secured by tangible or other property and used to attract investment, NAPM detailed.
Authorities in Tashkent have maintained a generally positive attitude toward the crypto space. In January 2020, they announced plans to establish а national mining pool, create a blockchain valley, introduce crypto tax exemptions, and establish a cryptocurrency exchange. Uznex, a digital asset trading platform operated by the South Korean entity Kobea Group, was launched later the same month.
However, the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for goods and services is still prohibited in the Central Asian country. In September, the Central Bank of Uzbekistan ruled out the idea that bitcoin and the rest could be recognized as legal tender in the country. That’s unlikely to ever change, a high-ranking official was quoted as stating.
Do you expect Uzbekistan to further loosen its crypto regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Ethereum gained pace above the $4,350 resistance against the US Dollar. ETH could accelerate higher if there is a clear break above the $4,550 resistance zone.
Ethereum is trading in a bullish zone above the $4,350 level.
The price is now well above $4,250 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.
There is a major bullish trend line forming with support near $4,360 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD (data feed via Kraken).
The pair could continue higher if it stays above the $4,350 support level in the near term.
Ethereum Price Extends Gains
Ethereum extended increase above the $4,350 resistance level. ETH price even broke the $4,440 level and settled well above the 100 hourly simple moving average.
There was a steady increase and the even climbed above $4,500. A high was formed near $4,552 and the price is now correcting lower. It traded below the $4,500 level. There was a break below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $4,169 swing low to $4,552 high.
Ether price is now well above $4,250 and the 100 hourly simple moving average. There is also a major bullish trend line forming with support near $4,360 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD.
An initial resistance on the upside is near the $4,500 level. The first major resistance is near the $4,550 level. A close above the $4,500 and $4,550 levels could start a fresh increase in the near term. In the stated case, the price might rise towards the $4,620 level. Any more gains could lift the price towards the $4,750 zone in the near term.
Dips Limited in ETH?
If ethereum fails to start a fresh increase above the $4,500 level, it could extend its downside correction. An initial support on the downside is near the $4,400 level.
The first key support is now forming near the $4,350 level, the trend line, and the 100 hourly simple moving average. The trend line is near the 50% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $4,169 swing low to $4,552 high. A downside break below the trend line could lead the price towards the $4,250 support.
Hourly MACDThe MACD for ETH/USD is gaining pace in the bearish zone.
Hourly RSI – The RSI for ETH/USD is now correcting lower towards the 40 level.