According to reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could prevent Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) from acquiring Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI). Inside sources state that the Commission may file an antitrust lawsuit against the Washington-based software giant’s planned $69 million takeover of Activision. Should the FTC lawsuit materialize, it would represent the most significant move so far by Chair Lina Khan to check the powers of global tech corporations.
FTC Wants to Prevent Microsoft Gaining Unfair Advantage in Video Game Space with Activision Acquisition
The core rationale behind the likely FTC antitrust lawsuit is to prevent Microsoft from gaining an unfair advantage in video games via the Activision acquisition. However, the US government’s independent agency is still building its case against Microsoft and looks to make it as foolproof as possible. Meanwhile, Activision sees the FTC’s perceived ‘anticompetitive’ grievance against Microsoft as “completely absurd”. Commenting on the development, a spokesperson for the popular Santa Monica-based video game publisher said:
“We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the globe to allow the transaction to proceed, but won’t hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if required.”
Activision further argued that the merger with Microsoft would immensely benefit gamers and the US gaming industry. In addition, the video game publisher also pointed out that joining forces with Microsoft will allow for better overseas competition.
Activision shares dipped 2% in extended trading after closing 1% higher.
Recap of the Acquisition Deal
In January, Microsoft announced the Activision deal, which projects to be the biggest gaming industry deal of all time. However, the deal came under intense scrutiny from regulators and competitors within and outside the US. For instance, Sony, makers of the PlayStation console, which directly competes with Microsoft’s Xbox console, already sees red flags. According to Sony, Microsoft owning Activision would give an unfair advantage to the American tech corporation. This advantage entails Microsoft having exclusive rights to Activision’s staple of wildly popular games like “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush”. However, Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith has since moved to dismiss the Sony monopoly allegations, saying:
“Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about ‘Call of Duty,’ but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation.”
Amid ongoing developments surrounding the Microsoft-Activision deal, the European Union launched a full-scale investigation earlier this month. According to the 27-member state political guild, its competition enforcer would decide a course of action on the deal by March next year. Meanwhile, Britain’s antitrust watchdog announced in September that it would also launch a full-scale probe into the Microsoft-Activision matter.
Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy spoke on the company’s “preparedness” to “address the concerns” from regulators and Sony. According to Cuddy, Microsoft will still trail Sony and Tencent in the market upon the deal’s conclusion. Most importantly, he also explained that Xbox partnering with Activision would benefit developers and gamers and make the industry more competitive.
Bitcoin At $1,000: Looking Back At Nine Years Of Bull Run
If the first part of the above headline about Bitcoin price had your heart pumping, it might be time to reduce the amount of leverage you are using.
No, we aren’t calling for BTC to reach a target of $1,000 – we are instead looking back and celebrating the nine-year anniversary of the first time Bitcoin breached above $1,000.
Nine Years Ago: BTC Breaks Above $1,000
Bitcoin is now in the midst of its fourth ever bear market and currently trading at a price of around $16,000 per coin. After the dramatic fall from $69,000 in late 2021 to current levels, sentiment has taken a beating. It isn’t unusual to see targets on crypto Twitter for $1,000 BTC in the days ahead.
Today, however, we aren’t as focused on future targets for the top cryptocurrency, but the long journey Bitcoin has had from when it first passed $1,000.
Nine years ago from yesterday, on November 27, 2013, BTC breached above $1,000. The level proved to be significant at the time, with BTCUSD trading above $1,000 for less than ten days before the 2014-2015 bear market started.
From that point on, it was more than 1000 days before Bitcoin passed $1,000 again. But when it passed it again, Bitcoin became a household name.
Bitcoin breached $1,000 exactly nine years ago yesterday | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
Where To Next: $1K or $1M Per Bitcoin?
$1,000 per BTC was significant for several reasons. It was a large, rounded number in US dollars, but 1 BTC was almost exactly the same price of an ounce of gold at the time.
After breaching above $1,000 a second time, Bitcoin went on to climb just under 2,000% to nearly $20,000 per coin. Today, five years later, BTC is below the 2017 bull market peak.
From the $1,000 milestone to current prices at around $16,000 per BTC, the top cryptocurrency still has more than 16,000% ROI its held onto. From its inception, it has gained more than 150,000,000% cumulatively.
Despite this, there are equal calls for a revisit to the $1,000 level as there are for Bitcoin reaching $1 million per coin, making BTC the most interesting speculative asset of all-time.
Follow @TonySpilotroBTC on Twitter or join the TonyTradesBTC Telegram for exclusive daily market insights and technical analysis education. Please note: Content is educational and should not be considered investment advice.
Featured image from iStockPhoto, Charts from TradingView.com
Crypto Fraud in UK Claims 32% to £226M amid Recession
Many UK residents are currently struggling to survive in the wake of a recession that is taking a toll on all and sundry, leading to a rise in crypto fraud. In hard times like this, criminals seek to exploit people and reap their funds. Reports have shown that crypto fraud in the UK grew 32% over the past year. According to data from the UK police unit Action Fraud, about £226 million ($273 million) was lost in crypto fraud over the past year.
UK Crypto Fraud Increases amid Recession
The recession in the UK is getting worse by the day, with readings suggesting that the economy is shrinking at a 0.4% quarterly rate. A major survey also added that the economic downturn could linger into the coming year. While S&P Global’s poll places the economic fall at a 0.4% quarterly rate, Gloom said it was widespread. There are also expectations that new businesses may stumble to the point of no recovery.
The cost of living has increased amid the recession, and many are now vulnerable to fraudsters. A forensic accountant at Pinsent Masons, Hinesh Shah, told Financial Times on Monday:
“Whenever times are tough, fraudsters always seek to prey on less experienced investors by promising huge returns.”
There have been major discussions on crypto in the UK and the presence of crypto firms in the country. The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in a report that crypto fraud is tied to increased cyber crimes. The agency noted 5,568 suspected crypto scams between the 1st of April 2021 and the 31st of March this year. The reports increased 36% YoY, and the UK financial watchdog intensified its commitment to warning consumers of the risks of crypto investments. There are currently 39 crypto-asset firms legally operating in the US, with 246 running without undergoing necessary procedures. The FCA’s executive director of markets, Sarah Pritchard, stated:
“Setting high standards and acting quickly to crack down on problem firms will help ensure market and consumer confidence, supporting the integrity and growth of UK financial services.”
With the recent happenings in the UK, crypto fraud is almost inevitable not to record crypto fraud cases. Illicit activities involving cryptocurrencies make major news headlines, and law enforcement has seized crypto assets worth millions due to criminal acts.
About a month ago, UK lawmakers agreed to legally see crypto as a regulated financial instrument. Parliamentarian Andrew Griffit proposed that crypto should be regulated in the country. He added that this would not mean that it would have preferential treatment. Instead, it would help the UK’s regulatory framework for financial assets.
Genesis Bankruptcy by EOY Now At 59% – Sentiment Of Bitcoin Investors Pivots
A possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Genesis Trading and parent company DCG is still depressing the sentiment on the Bitcoin market. Genesis last commented on Twitter on November 16. Parent company DCG last spoke out on November 18 via the social media platform.
Investors, however, seem to take a rather positive view of the silence. As recent data from the world’s largest decentralized prediction market Polymarket shows market participants now estimate the probability of a Genesis insolvency at only 59% by the end of year (EOY).
The peak value was 81%. Thus, the narrative appears to have pivoted to the extent that the problem is fixable for Genesis and DCG. Expert opinions currently suggest that it is more of a liquidity shortage than a solvency problem for DCG.
Bitcoin Experts Warn Against False Panic
Bitcoin OG Samson Mow explained that the DCG group has real assets and income-generating businesses, and the problem is primarily a liquidity shortage.
According to Mow, Genesis and DCG have enough assets to pay debts, they’re just not available in cash. The worst-case scenario, a bankruptcy of Genesis and DCG “seems unlikely” for him.
Since DCG has high revenues and assets, insolvency of Genesis would not be the end of the parent company. To that extent, Mow considers the theory that Grayscale could be liquidated and the 634,000 BTC could hit the open market also “an unlikely outcome.”
DCG still has a number of good assets, including Grayscale, which generates around $500 to $800 million a year in management fees. According to Mow, the likely outcome is a restructuring or an outright buyout by a bigger player.
Ryan Selkis, founder of Messari, currently strikes a similar tone. He also warns against scaremongering that DCG can simply “dump” its GBTC shares. “That’s part of their liquidity crisis, but also net good news for GBTC shareholders and FUD fighting,” Selkis said.
The reason is that Grayscale has to follow strict rules. Thus, DCG cannot simply sell its nearly $800 million worth of GBTC shares because it is not an ETF as desired but a listed vehicle that falls under Rule 144.
Because of this, there are two important restrictions. DCG must make public a notice of proposed sales. Furthermore, there are caps on sales of 1% of outstanding shares or weekly trading volume.
Given GBTC has a daily volume of ~4.5mm shares that works out to quarterly cap on sales of 2.5mm shares ($23mm / quarter) under the trading test and 6.9mm shares ($62mm / quarter) under the asset test.
If Grayscale were to start forced sales, it would send the price of GBTC further down, and the discount would continue to grow. According to Selkis, this liquidity problem makes it much more likely that DCG-Genesis will refinance using GBTC as collateral.
At press time, Bitcoin was trading at $16,157. Thus, the next important resistance is currently at $16,310, while the support at $16,050 is of major concern.
Bitcoin price, 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView
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