News RT

Haftar’s army spokesman accuses Turkey of sending arms & militants to Libya in violation of UN embargo — RT World News

Turkey has been violating the UN embargo by sending arms and militants from Syria to Libya, a spokesman for Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed as he showed videos that allegedly proved Ankara’s violations.

Turkey “continues its aggression against our country” by supporting the rivaling Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Major General Ahmed al-Mesmari, the LNA’s official spokesman, said during a press-conference.

Once prosperous, Libya remains divided since 2011 when NATO led a bombing campaign to overthrow the country’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. The fighting between the LNA and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA intensified last year, with international efforts to bring peace to the country, including those by Russia, so far being in vain. Haftar’s forces have been advancing on Tripoli for months, but the tide has changed recently, with the UN-recognized GNA now being on a counteroffensive.

Turkey’s interference is to blame for the failure of all initiatives aimed at settling the crisis, al-Mesmari insisted. “Until this hostile force is removed from the Libyan land, the radical elements will keep sowing discord and bloodshed.”

Ankara has been violating the UN arms embargo and supplying the GNA with hundreds of armored vehicles, artillery pieces, UAVs, heavy machine guns, other offensive weapons and loads of ammunition, he claimed.

Haftar’s spokesman then showed a video, which according to him, was captured by a dash cam from a Turkish-made APC that was seized by the LNA fighters. The recording showed the vehicle’s journey from a production facility in Turkey’s Izmir to the hands of rivaling forces inside Libya.

But the spokesman claimed that Ankara’s involvement wasn’t limited to illegal arms supplies as the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also actively deploying manpower to the war-torn country.

There were around 1,500 Turkish army servicemen and private security firm contractors in Libya. The LNA was also aware of some 2,500 Turkish commandos being all set to move into the country, al-Mesmari said.

“Neglecting all its obligations in fighting against terrorism, the Turkish government has organized transfer of extremists, who were defeated in Syria, to the Libyan territory,” he said, claiming Ankara has already deployed 7,000 militants from Syria to the country.

Al-Mesmari’s press conference was accompanied by videos that he claimed showed the captured militants, photos of their IDs and other materials.

Ankara and the GNA signed a military cooperation deal and a maritime boundaries agreement in November last year. Ankara sees Libya as a partner in exploring the gas-rich areas of the Mediterranean, which causes anger from other regional players like Greece, Egypt and Cyprus. In line with those agreements, Turkey offered military assistance to its new Libyan partners in late 2019, which was accepted by Tripoli.

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Libya’s Haftar ‘accepts people’s will’ to rule, declares UN-brokered unity government deal ‘thing of the past’

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News RT

US nuclear envoy reveals ‘negotiating’ tactic for New START, last arms control deal with Russia — RT World News

By Nebojsa Malic, senior writer at RT

The new US arms control czar has laid out Washington’s thinking on the last remaining nuclear pact with Russia, hoping that US threats of a new arms race will force Moscow and Beijing to negotiate a new three-way deal instead.

“We intend to establish a new arms control regime now, precisely to prevent a full-blown arms race,” Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, special presidential envoy for arms control, said Thursday during a half-hour interview hosted by the Hudson Institute, a DC-based think tank.

In case there is an arms race, he added, US President Donald Trump “has made clear that we have a tried and true practice here. We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion.”

This claim is based on the conventional wisdom in Washington that the US “won” the Cold War by pouring money into weapons and forcing the Soviet Union to do the same, eventually causing an economic crisis that triggered the collapse of the socialist system. It is not a standpoint widely accepted in Russia, however.

Billingslea was freshly appointed to the role, having previously been in charge of combating “terrorist financing” at the Treasury Department. He has already discussed starting negotiations with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov “as soon as possible.” However, while Moscow would like to extend the 2002 New Start treaty – set to expire in February 2021 – Billingslea seems uninterested, preferring instead a completely new “trilateral agreement” that would include China as well.

Speaking on Thursday, Billingslea made clear that the US expects Russia to “bring China to the negotiating table,” hinting that Moscow might do so because it is itself concerned about Beijing’s behavior. China, in his telling, might agree because it wants to be “afforded great power status” and the US is “ready to afford them that respect.” The fact that Beijing has said “not interested” a number of times doesn’t seem to bother Washington.

I’m less interested in what China wants and much more interested in what China needs to do.

Throughout the interview, Billingslea proceeded from premises widely shared in Washington: that Russia has violated every treaty ever and that its nuclear doctrine envisions nuclear escalation, among others. The US has never provided any evidence for any of these claims, but continues to assert them as true nonetheless.

This assertion is even baked into the current US nuclear posture review, published in February 2018, which significantly expands Washington’s willingness to employ nuclear weapons in case of conflict. However, it is in fact the US doctrine that believes using atomic weapons “could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” per a document published by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 2019, and hastily recalled from public view afterward.

Billingslea’s claim that the US is merely modernizing its nuclear arsenal, while Russia and China were expanding theirs, does not not track with the latest report by the campaign to ban all nuclear weapons, which shows the US accounts for half of the global nuclear spending combined, and the astonishing 82 percent of the total increase between 2018 and 2019.

Also on
Pity they don’t work against Covid-19: US drives RECORD global spending on atomic weapons, report shows

A trilateral arms control pact with Russia and China seems to be the brainchild of President Trump, who has mentioned it repeatedly since saying he wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons altogether in April 2019.

Having previously unilaterally abrogated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump proceeded to exit the 1987 INF treaty banning medium-ranged missiles from Europe, and announced just hours before Billingslea’s interview that the US will be leaving the Open Skies treaty as well. On both occasions he blamed “Russian violations,” but also described the treaties as Cold War relics that did not address new realities.

Billingslea’s interview did not address how the US intends to persuade Moscow or Beijing that the US can be trusted to keep its word, whether it’s Trump in the White House or someone else. He appeared to simply assume US trustworthiness, while repeatedly bringing up the allegedly inherent treachery of others.

Also on
Dangerous narcissism: REAL reason Trump ditched Open Skies is dislike for any treaties that don’t bear HIS signature

Trump has repeatedly doubled down on his predecessor’s policy of confrontation with Russia, even after the ‘Russiagate’ scandal intended to get him ousted from office was exposed as a malicious fabrication by his domestic opponents. He also drove a hard bargain on trade with China, and has accused Beijing of deliberately allowing the Covid-19 virus to become a pandemic.

The virus has killed nearly 100,000 Americans so far, but the lockdowns imposed to slow the spread have crippled the US economy, causing nearly 40 million Americans to lose their jobs and raising the prospect that “spend[ing] an adversary into oblivion” may not be feasible this time, if it ever was to begin with.

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Coindesk News

US Military Is Falling Behind China, Russia in Blockchain Arms Race: IBM, Accenture

The U.S. Department of Defense can’t afford to lose the global military blockchain race to Russia and China, warns a new white paper by Amazon Web Services, IBM, Deloitte and others.

Organized by the Value Technology Foundation think tank and co-authored by a smattering of private sector tech companies, consultancies and blockchain firms, the briefing offers a sobering analysis of that race as it stands. 

“The two superpowers that pose the greatest threat to the U.S. are both heavily investing in both the research and development of blockchain technology,” the briefing said: China’s on the “economic warfare” offensive with its digital currency. Russia is on defense with a lab dedicated to blockchain cyber threat mitigation.

The U.S. needs to similarly bootstrap its blockchain and DLT warfighter readiness, and it stands to benefit as soon as it does, the briefing said. In addition to AWS, IBM and Deloitte, the paper was written by Accenture, CGI Federal, ConsenSys, SIMBA Chain and Colvin Run Networks.

In cybersecurity, blockchain could broadly assist the military in anything from “weapons release” to stopping data erasure, an impossible proposition for append only databases. But it could also bolster command and control mechanisms through multi-party authentication.

If multiple parties hold command authority, and they must reach consensus to act, then  the system could be made more secure with blockchain, the group wrote. This could have specific benefits for the U.S. military’s newest branch: the Space Force. 

Blockchain could contribute to the Space Force by adding multi-factor authentication to satellite communication systems, the group wrote. Such systems are generally insecure, and according to the report they’ve been exploited or proven vulnerable before with issues that DLT could fix.

“An attacker would need to gain control over an arbitrary number of user accounts and be able to use those accounts to perform actions on the blockchain in order to confirm an inappropriate command,” the report said.

They advocated for DLT in the military supply chain with the same logistics playbook that civilian blockchain boosters hawk: identifying counterfeit goods verification, tracing provenance, keeping the food supply safe during a recall, sourcing commodities. All have defense department applications, according to the report.

But the military supply chain has already begun implementing DLT. The report documented a handful of blockchain trials in defense aerospace, aircraft parts additive manufacturing and naval engineering contracts.

Defense bureaucrats stand to benefit from a blockchain-based procurement process, the group said. Smart contracts could record deals whose data is shared only among authorized parties, with everything visible to the Defense Department in real time. 

This could add transparency and auditability to a gargantuan military-industrial procurement machine, which in 2018 admitted to losing hundreds of billions of dollars to contract fraud. 

“Just as the DoD found a way to build new applications and make distributed systems possible on the Internet, blockchain enables new capabilities by offering a layer of trust that the DoD can apply to improve its procurement process,” the report said.

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Coindesk News

Blockchain Sleuthing Firm Elliptic Adds 87 Crypto Assets in Arms Race With Chainalysis

Crypto sleuthing firm Elliptic has expanded its scope to cover some 97% of digital assets by trading volume – the broadest range of any crime-fighting blockchain analytics service, the company said.

Announced Wednesday, Elliptic Navigator adds 87 new crypto assets to the firm’s existing purview.

That said, touting just the number of coins covered can be “fairly irrelevant,” said Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson, because analytics shops could be including many ERC-20 tokens that nobody really uses.

“More important is the proportion of all trading volume your supported assets cover,” said Robinson. “We now support just over 97% of all assets by trading volume, the broadest of any crypto transaction screening tool.”

That figure beats the competition, Robinson said. Chainlaysis has said it covers 90% and Ciphertrace has said it covers 87%.

It’s increasingly becoming a regulatory expectation that crypto businesses have transaction screening capabilities across all the assets they support. And since exchanges have sought out new customers and revenue, the number of assets they support has grown rapidly.  

On this occasion, Elliptic added a swathe of new tokens and stablecoins in one go, all of them based on the Ethereum ERC-20 standard. Elliptic also adds some tokens individually, as it recently did with Stellar.

Robinson said stablecoin adoption, in particular, has exploded this year. Elliptic can now track tether (USDT), TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Paxos Standard (PAX), dai and Binance USD (BUSD).

“Elliptic is the clear leader in crypto transaction screening,” Binance Chief Compliance Officer Samuel Lim said in a statement. “Support for BUSD in their compliance products will help us to increase adoption for our stablecoin and maintain regulatory compliance.”

Crooked coins

In terms of which cryptocurrencies attract the most nefarious activity, Robinson said darkweb transactions are dominated by bitcoin and monero. With some of the other cryptocurrencies, such as XRP and stellar (XLM), illicit activity is less about trade or purchases, and more about scams or Ponzi schemes. 

“We saw a similar type of distribution with a lot of the new tokens we are adding,” said Robinson. “It’s more about fraud than any kind of dark market activity; there are no dark marketplaces accepting payment in an obscure ICO token.”

Stablecoins tend to be involved in relatively little illicit or fraudulent activity, said Robinson, probably because the issuers have the functionality to freeze accounts or reverse payments in a given stablecoin.

On the subject of privacy coins, Robinson said monero, with its belt-and-braces approach to privacy features, would be “extremely challenging” to add to Elliptic’s roster of supported assets. “It’s not something we are targeting at the moment,” he said.

“Something like zcash has dual modes of operating either shielded or non-shielded transactions,” Robinson said. “So, we are going to add support for zcash unshielded transactions to Navigator.”

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Gateway Pundit News

IG Steve Linick Was Investigating Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia — But Obama’s $2 Billion Pallets of Cash to Iran Was AOK

So here is today’s latest Democrat-Liberal media scandal…

The fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating the Trump administration’s use of emergency powers to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia despite congressional opposition, according to a senior Democratic lawmaker.

Pompeo recommended the the far left IG’s firing.

The IG was also looking into whether Pompeo used staff to run personal errands, including walking his dog!

This is the kind of harassment that continues against this Republican president.

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So this will be all over the news for the the coming weeks.

Of course, Barack Obama delivered a pallet of cash to the killer Iranian regime.
That was OK with Linick?

These same Democrats said nothing after Barack Obama gifted the Iranian regime with $5.7 billion and a pallet of cash.

Obama sent the Khamenei regime a pallet of unmarked bills in the dead of night in exchange for US prisoners.

The Iranian regime was so proud of themselves they posted the video.

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News Veterans Today

China: US has no right to extend Iran arms embargo – Veterans Today

by Jim W. Dean, VT Editor, …with PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: The Trump regime is placing as many bets down on the table that “China unleashed the virus” as a last stand defense of Trump’s incompetent handling of the Covid threat, which in 20/20 retrospect we can see he was totally absorbed with its effects on his reelection prospects.

Why? If he hadn’t already known he was certainly briefed on the track record that incumbent presidents with a good economy and low unemployment carry a lot of sway with voters wanting those circumstances to continue.

His financial handlers milked him like a cow, getting the huge tax bill through, where with their cut, rather than investing it back into the country, proceed to start doing stock buybacks to run their shares up. And for those corporate moguls who loaded themselves up with stock options earlier, they made out really well.

Trump was looking forward to getting his cut of their increased wealth by having tons of money for his campaign. All that is changed now. If we had a strong Democrat candidate now Trump would be toast, but with goofy Joe Biden telling us recently about the millions of Americans that have died from Covid…well…what can be said about that?

You would have thought that by now his handlers would have been feeding him lines via his hearing aide, but he appears to still be winging it. America is tired of that from Trump, and comedian Sara Cooper is just killing him with her impersonation satires with 16 million views just on one.

That Trump would blame everyone but himself for the lack of preparation on the pandemic response was predictable. He has been his own worst enemy with his big and uncontrolled mouth.

His handlers are working on a lot of diversions to frame him as the genius business leader who can juggle a dozen crises at a time with no problem. The Iran bogeyman will be front and center.

I am convinced that if the polls begin to show he is tanking in September he would start a war with Iran as his last defense line from being exposed to all the litigation awaiting him as a private citizen, with a Democratic president and maybe even Senate… JD ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPal
Jim’s work includes research, field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving & more. Thanks for helping. Click to donate >>

The US Uni-polarism circus continues at the UN

– First published … May 15, 2020

China say US has no right to extend an arms embargo on Iran, let alone trigger snapback. Maintaining JCPOA is the only right way moving forward.

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Gateway Pundit News

“Leave Mummy Alone!” – Shock Video Shows Mother Arrested, Her Screaming Child Ripped From Her Arms by Sydney Police For Violating Lockdown Order

This was difficult to watch.

A mother was arrested near Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia on Saturday for peacefully protesting the Coronavirus lockdown order.

The woman, who brought her young son with her to protest, wore a yellow sign that read: ‘If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any. Magna Carta.’

The protester told the police that she wasn’t doing anything wrong by peacefully standing outside, however they harassed her and repeatedly asked for her name.

TRENDING: CROOKED OBAMA PANICS! Deep State Reporter Isikoff Releases His “Leaked” Call – Former President’s Fingerprints All Over Attempted Coup and More Documents Are Coming!

The woman refused to give her name to the police and that’s when the police turned into aggressive Gestapo thugs.

The police ripped the woman’s young son out of her arms as they arrested her.

The young boy was kicking and screaming “leave mummy alone!” after the police forcefully ripped him out of his mother’s arms.

The police officers, who were not social distancing or wearing masks, said the woman was arrested for not complying with social distancing regulations.


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News Sputnik

‘We’d Like to Do It’: Trump Says US, Russia Looking Into Moving Ahead on Arms Control Deal


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Following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, US President Donald Trump indicated the two countries are ready to discuss arms control agreements.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday he and Putin were both interested in discussion new arms control agreements.

“We are talking about arms control with Russia and we will go forward with that and we are talking about it very seriously,” Trump said. “They’d like to do it and we’d like to do it.”

Earlier in the day, the White House released a statement about their phone call, saying, “President Trump reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race.”

This mirrors what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last month after the latter indicated a willingness to discuss extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires next year. The agreement limits the number of different types of nuclear weapons the US and Russia may construct.

While the US and Russia each control thousands of nuclear weapons, China is believed to have just 300 – enough only to deter attack, according to Beijing.

No mention was made, however, of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty abandoned by the United States last year amid claims Russia had broken the agreement. Since the treaty officially lapsed in August 2019, the US has pushed ahead with a series of missiles with ranges that would violate the INF Treaty were it still in effect.

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News Sputnik

Pompeo Says He Affirmed to Russian FM That US Ready to Engage in Arms Control to Advance Security

Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Wednesday said that he affirmed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the United States is ready to engage in arms control negotiations in order to advance the security of the United States and its partners.

“In my discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, I affirmed that we are ready to engage in arms control negotiations that advance the security of the United States and our partners,” Pompeo said via Twitter. “We’ll continue to push for mechanisms that are verifiable and enforceable.”

​In an earlier statement, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus added that Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed other matters of mutual interest, including response efforts to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is the last remaining arms control agreement in force between Russia and the United States after the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The New START stipulates the reduction of the number of strategic nuclear missiles launchers by one-half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

The agreement is set to expire in February 2021, and the United States has so far not announced plans to extend the accord.

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Coindesk News

U.S. Arms of Binance, FTX Push Into Margin Trading, But Likely Not at 100x

Cryptocurrency exchanges based outside the U.S. are pushing to fill what they see as a competitive gap in the world’s biggest economy – offering more leverage to traders who have limited alternatives due to a strict domestic regulatory environment.

Antigua and Barbuda-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX plans to launch its newly established U.S. unit this month. Margin trading, in which users can buy and sell assets using borrowed money, could become a key feature of the U.S. operations, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told CoinDesk.

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“The crypto exchange ecosystem as a whole has been in need of competition for a while, and we’re excited to be able to offer liquid order books, tons of features, margin trading for qualified customers and a constantly evolving product in the States,” Bankman-Fried said.

Catherine Coley, CEO of the U.S. unit of the big overseas cryptocurrency exchange Binance, told CoinDesk that the company is “actively working toward implementing margin trading.” The business, Binance.US, launched last year.

Outside the United States, traders can get leverage on purchases of cryptocurrencies and derivatives via exchanges including Binance, Bitfinex and BitMEX, in some cases enabling bets of up to 100 times the money down. All three exchanges initially welcomed traders in the U.S. but later started turning some customers away under pressure from local regulators.

“U.S. traders have limited access to margin trading because it’s more tightly regulated here than in other jurisdictions,” said Jake Chervinsky, general counsel for Compound, a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency lender.

The dearth of margin-trading venues for U.S. cryptocurrency investors highlights the balkanized nature of the fast-evolving international digital-asset marketplace: It’s nominally a 24 hour, 7-day-a-week realm that crosses sovereign borders, but in reality rules are applied differently by financial authorities across multiple jurisdictions.

Among the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges ranked by trading volume, only two, Coinbase Pro and Kraken, are based in the U.S.
Source: Nomics

Jim Harper, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former counsel to U.S. congressional committees, said in an email that domestic regulators are applying a consumer-protection lens to rules governing domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. That may not comport with the mentality of crypto traders who don’t mind taking bigger risks, with less protection. 

“Every aspect of the cryptocurrency world is high-risk, high-reward,” Harper said. 

CME, the Chicago-based exchange that has offered regulated bitcoin futures contracts since late 2017, allows trading on margin, but at a much lower level than international exchanges beyond the reach of U.S. regulators. 

For example, the CME’s May bitcoin futures contract requires a maintenance margin of $14,743 per contract, according to the exchange’s website. That works out to about 33% of the five-bitcoin contract’s closing price on Tuesday, based on a quote of $9,030 per bitcoin. The leverage equivalent is 3x. 

The CME is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, which imposes strict rules on the use of margin. 

“To protect people from getting burned, the CFTC is arguably inhibiting the development of a U.S. market and capacities among U.S. investors to exercise the kind of caution they’ll need in what is truly a global financial services market,” said Harper. 

At least two U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken and Coinbase, offer margin trading, but also at a lower level than the high-octane levels on some of the overseas venues. At Kraken, the limit is 5x leverage, and at Coinbase it’s 3x. 

“Of course margin trading in crypto specifically is ultra-risky given the tendency for major daily moves, and that might be why U.S. exchanges have been wary to roll it out in a meaningful way,” said Kinjal Shah, senior associate at Blockchain Capital.

Some investors say the availability of leverage can deepen a market by attracting additional traders, in turn helping to assure a good price and execution. 

“Margin products available to U.S.-domiciled investments funds are highly limited mainly because of the regulatory hurdles here in the U.S.,” said Justin Yashouafar, managing partner at Los Angeles-based Blockhead Capital. 

According to Chervinsky, any exchanges looking to bolster their margin trading offerings are likely to bump into limits imposed by U.S. regulators.

They still wouldn’t be able to offer “the high leverage ratios that offshore exchanges have popularized with crypto traders,” he said.

Tweet of the day


Bitcoin watch

BTC: Price: $9,222 (BPI) | 24-Hr High: $9,290 | 24-Hr Low: $8,811


Trend: Bitcoin is trading above $9,200 at press time amid mixed signals on the technical charts. 

While the above-70 reading on the 14-day relative strength index indicates overbought conditions and scope for a pullback, the Chaikin money flow, which incorporates both prices and trading volumes, is still hovering above zero – a sign buying pressure is stronger than selling pressure. 

More importantly, Tuesday’s UTC close above $9,000, the first in two months, validated dip demand near $8,500 observed on Monday, and restored the immediate bullish bias.

The outlook had turned neutral following the cryptocurrency’s repeated failures to keep gains above $9,000 over the weekend. The pennant breakout seen on the 4-hour chart also indicates that the path of least resistance is to the higher side.  

With price charts showing bullish patterns, the overbought reading on the RSI takes a back seat. After all, indicators follow price. As such, one can expect bitcoin to revisit the April 30 high of $9,485. The bullish case would be invalidated if prices drop below Tuesday’s low of $8,760. 

At press time, that looks unlikely, as futures on the S&P 500 and major European stocks are flashing green. Sentiment looks to have been buoyed by major economies moving toward easing lockdown restrictions and an uptick in crude prices. 

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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