Bitcoin is trading in a bearish zone, and despite the short term recovery in the past few days, the coin is expected to experience losses below $3,500 and $3,400 in the time to come.
Currently, this leading cryptocurrency is struggling to sustain gains above $3,600.
For the fifth year in a row, January does not look great for BTC.
The coin has reported losses in January in the last four years, and it seems like this trend is going to continue in 2019 as well. Bitcoin is currently around two percent down from the opening price this year.
Other larger coins are experiencing the same fate as BTC, and are all in the red at press time.
XRP is holding the second place, with slightly larger loses from Ethereum that once again fell back to the third place and is trading at $122.
The total market capitalization is just above $121 billion currently, down almost 10 billion from last week.
The Connection Between Mexican Cartels and Chinese Crypto Money Laundering Schemes
The connection between Mexican drug cartels and Chinese cryptocurrency laundering networks is more influential than ever, shows a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the issue of Border Security and Immigration.
This Chinese-Mexican illicit money-laundering association is nothing new and has been going on for a long time now, allowing drug traffickers in North America to more efficiently obtain chemicals used to produce methamphetamine and other drugs.
The digital asset of choice is usually Bitcoin, but other coins that are considered as private, such as Monero, Dash or Zcash, are also used by transnational criminal organizations.
The trades are made on the dark web market websites, as a secure and anonymous way of connecting to one another.
The reason behind this Chinese-Mexican collaboration is the Chinese grand money laundering networks, created of money and cryptocurrency brokers who manage to circumvent the banking system in the country.
These so-called Chinese Underground Banking Systems are believed to have over 10,000 clients from all over the world and launder approximately $100 billion on a year level.
That’s the amount of laundered money in one country only.
On a goal scale, according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime statistic, the number goes up to $2 trillion annually.
Scottish Software Engineer Jailed After Purchasing Firearms on Dark Web
David Mitchell, a 48-year-old software engineer from Scotland, has been convicted to five years of prison, after being found guilty of illegally purchasing firearms and ammunition from the dark web.
The middle-aged Edinburgh resident used Bitcoin to purchase a 9mm handgun, ammunition, and a suppressor from the United States.
Mitchell spent $2,750 worth of BTC for the purchased items. His shipment was intercepted by the Organized Crime Partnership that sent a placebo to Mitchell’s address instead.
They were following the accused and raided his house soon after he received the fake package.
The accused first appeared on the court back in December 2018, and after pleading guilty on three counts, he was jailed to five years of prison.
The motive behind the purchase remains unknown, although Mitchell’s defense claims that the accused only wanted to check if the transaction really could be done.
Fortnite’s Money Linked to Large Money Laundering Scheme
Fortnite, a popular game that has members of all ages, has been associated lately with money laundering schemes, run by international criminal groups.
The game has its own premium in-game currency called V-Bucks, which in this case was the main asset that helped to launder the money.
An investigation done by The Independent and Sixgill, a cybersecurity firm, reveals that criminals buy these V-Bucks with stolen credit cards, and then they sell them again for cryptocurrency on the dark web as a way to ‘clean’ the money.
The payments are done in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
It remains unclear how extensive the amount of money that was laundered this way is, but Sixgill claimed that last year Fortnite’s items grossed a $250,000 on eBay in only two months.
That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 29th post in our crypto news series.
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