Bitcoin holds above $900 as fears of Chinese crackdown fade

Chinese exchanges decision to begin charging transaction fees could be good for the industry, market analysts say

    
What at first looked like a crackdown on the local bitcoin industry by Chinese authorities is beginning to look more like a detente, according to several bitcoin watchers.

What at first looked like a crackdown on the local bitcoin industry by Chinese authorities is beginning to look more like a detente, according to several bitcoin watchers.

On Monday, four Chinese exchanges announced that they would begin charging a transaction fee of 0.2%, reforms that many believe were implemented to satisfy Chinese regulators, who earlier this month said they would investigate local exchanges to reinforce the importance of remaining compliant with local laws.

These changes have a broader significance for the bitcoin market. Charles Hayter, founder and chief executive officer of CryptoCompare and Chris Burniske, blockchain products lead at ARK Invest, believe that, rather than trying to stifle bitcoin trading, Chinese authorities have reached an understanding that would allow the industry to continue growing in China—which could help preserve bitcoin’s recent price gains.

Judging by the price action following the announcements, traders seem to agree: The bitcoin price moved marginally lower on Tuesday, but it  has held above $900, a sign that the digital currency may be stabilizing as investors grow bullish about its future in China.

“To further curb market manipulation and extreme volatility, BTCChina will start charging fees for bitcoin and litecoin trading beginning at noon GMT on Tuesday Jan. 24. Market makers and takers will both be charged a flat fee of 0.2% per transaction,” according to a statement released on the exchange’s website.

Last week, Huobi and OKCoin, two of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, confirmed that they had halted margin trading at the behest of the People’s Bank of China. Exchanges often extend credit to traders—a process called trading on margin—who borrow against money held in a brokerage account.

According to the exchanges, the margin halts were intended to curb market manipulation and excessive volatility.

The bitcoin price dropped from a more than three-year high earlier this month after Chinese authorities announced that they would investigate local exchanges.

To be sure, shutting down the bitcoin network would be virtually impossible, Burniske said, but any crackdown could induce volatility and hamper growth by forcing the industry underground.

China is a crucial market for bitcoin. The vast majority of bitcoin trades are executed on Chinese exchanges. Because of relatively high demand in China, buyers using yuan often pay a slight premium compared with those buying in dollars, Hayter said.

Soon after bitcoin reached its all-time high in November 2013, Chinese authorities banned local financial firms from dealing in the cryptocurrency, which helped trigger the dramatic selloff that followed, Burniske said.

But since then, they have allowed the industry to grow largely unchecked.

Bitcoin traders have often favored Chinese exchanges for the absence of transaction fees. U.S.-based exchanges have charged fees for years. Though the price has remained buoyant, volume appears to have shifted away from the Chinese exchanges that have traditionally dominated the market. In the past 24 hours, most bitcoin transactions have been executed in dollars, according to data available on CoinMarketCap.

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Soulja Boy Charged with Felony Weapons Possession

Los Angeles prosecutors have charged rapper Soulja Boy with felony possession of an assault weapon and a handgun.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it had charged the rapper, whose real name is DeAndre Cortez Way, and that his arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

Way was arrested last month by Los Angeles police.
Prosecutors said a search of his home found a Mini Draco AR-IS assault weapon and a Glock 21 handgun.

Authorities have said the handgun was reported stolen from a Huntington Beach, California, police vehicle.

Soulja Boy is best known for his 2007 hit “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” and for his recent appearances on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop.”
Attempts to reach a representative for the rapper were not immediately successful. 

 

 

 

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Mexico says Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzaman extradited to US

MEXICO CITY Mexico’s government says it has extradited drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking and other charges.

The Foreign Relations Department has announced on Twitter that Guzman was being sent to the U.S. on Thursday, the day before Donald Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president.

 

The convicted Sinaloa cartel boss has been held most recently in a prison near the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez. He was recaptured a year ago after making a second brazen jailbreak and had fought extradition since then.
The Foreign Relations Department has announced on Twitter that Guzman was being sent to the U.S. on Thursday, the day before Donald Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president. 
“The government of the Republic announces that today the Fifth Appellate Criminal Court in Mexico City ruled to deny the protection of the Federal Justice system to Joaquín Guzmán Loera against the agreements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 20, 2016 which permitted his extradition to the United States of America in order to be tried for various crimes, after finding that those agreements complied with constitutional requirements, the requirements of bilateral treaties and other legal rulings that are in effect and that his human rights were not and have not been violated by these proceedings,” the government said in a statement obtained by CBS News.  
The convicted Sinaloa cartel boss has been held most recently in a prison near the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez. 
The leader of the Sinaloa cartel has twice escaped from maximum-security prisons in Mexico, most recently in 2015. He was recaptured in January and is currently imprisoned in the northern border state of Chihuahua.
Guzman has cases pending in multiple jurisdictions, but the DOJ most recently indicted him on a new set of charges in Brooklyn in May 2016 on 16 drug related counts, CBS News justice reporter Paula Reid reported. It is mostly likely that he will face trial in that district, but the DOJ has not said that publicly.
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