ForexLive morning news wrap: Steady as we go with option expiries containing ranges.UK Budget in focus.

Forex news for the European morning trading session 22 Nov 2017
News:
Nothing of note
Data:
A quiet session with large option contract expiries once again casting a shadow and containing ranges

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Abbas ready for ‘historic’ peace deal under Trump

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that he is ready for an “historic” peace deal with Israel under US President Donald Trump’s patronage, the Anadolu Agency reported.

During a speech delivered in the Spanish parliament, Abbas renewed his calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, where the Palestinians can live peacefully side by side with the state of Israel.

Trump’s administration has said that it is seeking to revive the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis after a stalemate of more than three years.

In April 2014, the peace talks stopped after the Israeli occupation government refused to release the third batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners and conceded the notion of the two-state solution.

Abbas called for the Spanish government to recognise Palestine. “It is not reasonable that a states which believes in the two-state solution only recognises one state – Israel.”

Previously, the Spanish parliament voted for a proposal calling for the Spanish government to recognise the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders.

Read: Spanish town Joins BDS

Hailing the Spanish position’s suppor for Palestinian rights, Abbas said: “We hold hopes on the individual Spanish role, as well as on its role as part of the EU to support the national Palestinian rights and a fair solution for the Palestinian issue based on the resolutions of the international community.”

Abbas is in Spain on an official visit which is due to come to a close today.

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Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

Bitfinex are having quite a week, to put it mildly. You wouldn’t know as much by monitoring their social channels though: there’s not a word about that unfortunate $30 million Tether hack; just a tweet noting how pleased they are to announce BTC:EUR trading. On the surface, it’s business as usual at “the world’s largest and most advanced bitcoin trading platform”. Step outside the Bitfinex bubble, however, and things are anything but rosy.

See also: Exchanges Suspend USDT Transactions After $30 Million Tether Treasury Wallet Hack

Untethered, Goxxed, and Bitfinexed

Where to start with Bitfinex? Questions surrounding the company’s secrecy, lack of proper banking facilities, and odd relationship with Tether have abounded for months, but lately those murmurs have grown into a crescendo, prompting the exchange to break its silence, tweeting:

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

Days later and that promised statement has failed to materialize. In fairness to ‘finex, they’ve had a lot on, what with the alleged loss of $30 million in USDT, prompting Tether to issue a hard fork to isolate the stolen funds. (Intriguingly, it appears the Tether hacker also made off with 19,000 BTC from Bitstamp in 2015 and another 8,500 from Huobi the same year. Presumably they forgot to hodl, hence their emergence, two years later, to re-up.)  

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

Biftfinex’ shortage of proper banking facilities and increasing reliance on tethers – tokens pegged against the US dollar – is well-documented, and has been the subject of relentless investigation by one dogged individual. Bitfinexed, who has been a thorn in the side of the exchange, has even been using a voice changer during interviews, such is his desire to remain anonymous.

It’ll All Come Out in the Wash

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack
Just another weekend at Bitfinex.

Accusations of wash trading at Bitfinex – “printing” tethers and using them to artificially bump the price of bitcoin before cashing out, sending the USD to Tether, and repeating the cycle – aren’t the only ones the exchange has been facing. In Warning Signs About Another Giant Bitcoin Exchange, the NYT’s Nathaniel Popper addresses the other questions that are hanging over Bitfinex, namely:

1. Why has Bitfinex been unwilling to reveal anything about the 2016 hack of 120,000 BTC (or the 2015 hack of 1,500 BTC for that matter)?

2. Why doesn’t Bitfinex reveal its current banking arrangements or where its money is stored?

3. Where is the promised audit that will assuage Tether’s doubters once and for all? (The company did produce a financial statement in September, but it failed to prove that each tether is backed by a US dollar.)

The article quotes Emin Gün Sirer, a computer science professor at Cornell University, as saying:

I’m worried about the systemic risk that this centralized company poses, and I’m worried that if they go down, they will take down the space with them.

The New York Times’ Popper also reveals the following nugget:

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

Laughing All the Way to the Bank

While the Tether brouhaha was playing out this week, it also emerged that Bitfinex has yet another new bank. This time, its European home is with the obscure Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości – also the home of CEX.io – under the name of CRYPTO SP.ZO.O. Why isn’t Bitfinex using its own name and why is it with a bank that ranks 15th in Poland in terms of asset value and 26th in terms of number of outlets? But wait, the plot thickens…

The director of Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości is Molina Lee Ivan Manuel who is also the director of numerous Panamanian shell companies. Offshore shell companies are a recurring theme with Bitfinex; the so-called Paradise Papers, which leaked this month, show that Bitfinex’ operators used an offshore firm to help them incorporate Tether in the British Virgin Islands.

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

One of the companies Molina Lee Ivan Manuel is listed as a director of is Crypto Capital Corp. A quick Google reveals a string of red flags amidst user concerns over missing money and shady business practises. Perform a company search for CRYPTO SP.ZO.O – Bitfinex’ European banking name – and this comes up:

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

That’s right, CRYPTO SP.ZO.O appears to be 99% owned by Crypto Capital Corp. Curiouser and curiouser.

The Case for the Defense

There are clearly questions that Bitfinex needs to answer, not only to reassure its customers, but also the cryptocurrency community at large, who are worried by the knock-on effects if the world’s largest exchange was to fail. In defense of Bitfinex, there are solid reasons why it remains the market leader including high liquidity and a trading engine that actually works, which is more than can be said of some exchanges. Moreover, Google any company and you’re bound to find dissatisfied customers and unverifiable claims of impropriety.

Questions Mount as Bitfinex Stay Silent in the Wake of the Tether Hack

On the other hand, there are areas where Bitfinex seriously lags behind the competition. Withdrawals, for example, are notoriously slow. They’re supposed to be processed within 12 hours, but waits of 24 hours or longer are not uncommon.

Despite shady banking, dubious use of tethers, another hack, and slow withdrawals, there is nothing to suggest that Bitfinex is on the verge of collapse. Nevertheless, the company’s operators could dispel much of the FUD and rumors if they were to clarify their current banking relationship and finances. It’s been three days now since Bitfinex promised “a formal announcement”. Tick tock.

Do you think Bitfinex have questions to answer? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Daily economic digest from Forex.ee

Daily economic digest from Forex.ee

Stay informed of the key economic events

Wednesday, November 22nd

The EUR/USD pair extends its recovery trend, as broad retreat of the US dollar remains key driving theme across the market on Wednesday. The main reason of greenback’s weakness remains yesterday’s cautious speech of the Fed Chief J.Yellen, where she noted that the US inflation continues to demonstrate surprisingly low growth pace. Moreover, seems that markets have already passed over recent German political developments, which is another positive factor for the pair. Today the EU data calendar won’t bring us anything important, so the US dollar price dynamics will remain the key determinant for the pair, while important fundamentals from the US and FOMC minutes will grab investors’ attention during the NA session.

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Lebanon army on alert for possible threat from Israel

General Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Commander General Joseph Aoun, called on his army to be in a state of “full readiness” as tension is rising amidst Israeli military drills on the Lebanon-Israel borders, Al Jazeera reported yesterday.

Aoun also spoke about “threats and violations of the Israeli enemy, as well as aggressive intentions against Lebanon, the Lebanese people and the army.”

He stressed the “importance of facing any attempt to exploit the ongoing circumstances to cause sedition, division, chaos and posing danger to Lebanese unity, civil peace and Lebanese interests.”

In the middle of a political ordeal in Lebanon due to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Aoun said: “The exceptional political situation in Lebanon makes it important for the army to be on high alert.”

He also called for the army to commit to the UN Security Council Resolution number 1701 in cooperation with the UN forces in Lebanon in order to “maintain stability”.

Lebanon: What’s after Hariri’s resignation?

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Dash Weekly Analysis

The past week turned out to be excellent for cryptocurrencies. Not only Bitcoin is soaring like always, but many altcoins are also touching all new highs. Dash is one coin which is soaring since weeks and also touched an all-new high this week. Its market cap is growing exponentially and is about to reach $4 billion. With over 3.95 billion in market cap, Dash also became the fifth largest cryptocurrency suppressing Litecoin.

Key Highlights:

DSH/USD touched an all-new high this week and is still soaring above $500

Week-on-week the pair gained 23 percent and 12.6 percent in the last 48 hours

DSH/BTC pair gained 19 percent and currently trading around 0.062 BTC

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trade.io Adjusts Market Cap & Trade Token Price Based on the Rise in Ethereum and Demand for Lower Entry Point

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Fatah attempts to overturn Palestinian consensus in Cairo talks

Fatah is insisting on overturning the Palestinian consensus during talks in Cairo and impose its own agenda in an attempt to avoid discussing strategic issues such as elections, the unity government, security, PLO and social reconciliation, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

While taking over control of the Gaza Strip, Fatah leaders delivered remarks that were considered a prelude the movement’s position and inability to shift on its opinions.

Member of Fatah Central Committee Jamal Muhaisen, for example, said that the current government led by Rami Hamadallh, would remain active.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas also said that his own political programme would be the reference for any Palestinian government.

Read: A Hamas-Fatah deal can’t square this circle

Fatah claims that Hamas’ participation in the government would lead to an international boycott and its ministers would not be able to move in and out of Gaza.

Sources revealed to Al-Resalah that Fatah is planning to reshuffle the current government that includes changing independent ministers nominated by Hamas.

The sources also revealed to the newspaper that the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine would not participate in any government under the Oslo umbrella, noting that this strengthens Fatah’s position regarding not to change the government.

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