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U.S. Launches Criminal Probe into Bitcoin Price Manipulation
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The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, dramatically ratcheting up U.S. scrutiny of red-hot markets that critics say are rife with misconduct, according to four people familiar with the matter.
The investigation is focused on illegal practices that can influence prices — such as spoofing, or flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the review is private. Federal prosecutors are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a financial regulator that oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin, the people said.
Authorities worry that virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud for multiple reasons: skepticism that all exchanges are actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings that could make it easy to push valuations around and a lack of regulations like the ones that govern stocks and other assets.
Bitcoin extended its Thursday declines after Bloomberg News reported the investigation, and was down 3 percent to $7,409 as of 9:32 a.m. London time. It’s down more than 20 percent since a May 4 peak.
Such concerns have prompted China to ban cryptocurrency exchanges and nations including Japan and the Philippines to regulate them, contributing to a slump that has sent Bitcoin below $8,000 this year. Still, digital coins continue to be a global investment craze, drawing legions of loyalists to industry conferences, generating celebrity endorsements and increasingly attracting the attention of Wall Street.
The illicit tactics that the Justice Department is looking into include spoofing and wash trading — forms of cheating that regulators have spent years trying to root out of futures and equities markets, the people said. In spoofing, a trader submits a spate of orders and then cancels them once prices move in a desired direction. Wash trades involve a cheater trading with herself to give a false impression of market demand that lures other to dive in too. Coins prosecutors are examining include Bitcoin and Ether, the people said.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment and CFTC officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The investigation, which the people said is in its early stages, is the U.S.’s latest effort to crack down on an industry that was initially embraced by those who were distrustful of banks and government control over monetary policy.
But Bitcoin’s meteoric rise — it surged to almost $20,000 in 2020 after starting the year below $1,000 — has been a lure for mom-and-pop investors. That’s prompted regulators to grow concerned that people are jumping into cryptocurrencies without knowing the risks. For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened dozens of investigations into initial coin offerings, in which companies sell digital tokens that can be redeemed for goods and services, due to suspicions that many are scams.
Cryptocurrency trading is fragmented on dozens of platforms across the globe, and many aren’t registered with the CFTC or SEC. As a derivatives watchdog, the CFTC doesn’t regulate what’s known as the spot market for digital tokens — which is the trading of actual coins rather than futures linked to them. But if the agency finds fraud in spot markets, it does have authority to impose sanctions.
The limited oversight of crypto trading makes it a target for crooks, said John Griffin, a University of Texas finance professor who has studied manipulation, including in digital-coin markets.
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“There’s very little monitoring of manipulative trading, spoofing and wash trading,” Griffin said. “It would be easy to spoof this market.”
Signs are emerging that some crypto exchanges realize the industry’s growth could be constrained if large swaths of investors conclude that trading platforms have a “buyer beware” approach to oversight.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
The Winklevoss twins, who are known for getting rich off Facebook Inc., hired Nasdaq Inc. last month to conduct surveillance of digital coins trading on their exchange, Gemini Trust Co. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have also urged trading platforms to band together to form a group that would serve as a self regulator for the industry.
Some market participants have alleged that crypto manipulation is rampant. Last year, a blogger flagged the actions of “Spoofy,” a nickname for a trader or group of traders that have allegedly placed $1 million orders without executing them.
Price of Gold Per Ounce Live & Historical Charts
Gold Price Today
|Gold Spot Price||Spot Change|
|Gold Price per Ounce||$1,640.25||0.00|
|Gold Price per Gram||$52.74||0.00|
|Gold Price per Kilo||$52,735.26||0.00||
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Check the price of gold with Money Metals Exchange’s interactive live and historical chart. The chart below allows you to check gold spot prices dating back 20 years up to the current date.
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The Mystery and Wonder of Gold Prices
Gold prices are constantly changing, which keeps investors checking the price of this precious metal every morning. Despite this level of speculation, gold continues to be the most popular investment precious metal. For centuries, gold has been a mysterious symbol of value and wealth. Learn more about gold prices and what makes this precious metal coveted by so many people around the world today.
A Brief History of Gold
Dating back as far as 600 BC, gold has been used as money and to preserve wealth. Today, mints produce gold bars and bullion coins for dealers to sell to buyers. The first coins with gold were struck in Asia Minor.
However, gold was used during the period of Grecian history before and during the time of Homer’s life. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, European nations starting minting gold coins rather than their earlier preference of using silver for coinage.
The gold standard for money was used throughout the years of industrial economies in the nineteenth century. Gold certificates and bills were added to this circulating stock of money based on the value of gold. After World War II, the gold standard was replaced by convertible currencies with fixed exchange rates based on the Bretton Woods system.
Starting in 1971, the USA refused to redeem its dollars in gold because excessive government debt and money printing had caused the gold price per ounce in the free market to rise way above the fixed redemption price of gold. Since the dollar was backed by gold up to that point and had gained the status as the most important reserve currency, most other countries around the world had already abandoned their own gold standards and instead pegged their currencies to the dollar.
The financial turmoil and debt problems in recent years have reinvigorated the debate about returning to a gold standard, particularly as gold prices have risen sharply.
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Gold Price: The Pure Beauty and Value of Gold
As an alloy, gold content is measured in carats. Pure gold is 24k. Gold is always considered the most desirable precious metal, even as the prices of certain platinum group metals have been higher. The perception of gold brings to mind wealth and comfort, beyond that associated with stocks, equities and money. Buying gold is a way to diversify risks, as the stock market can be unpredictable. The safest, most reliable play on gold prices is to own physical gold. However, investors also use contracts, futures, and derivatives to build financial portfolios exposed to gold prices.
The globalist International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C, maintains statistics of national assets reported by countries around the globe. This includes gold holdings. The price of gold is reported per ounce. An investor refers to a 24-hour spot gold price chart. The price per ounce is reported in real-time as 24-hour trading ensues worldwide. Before investors decide to buy gold from a dealer, it is wise to refer to trading charts for AM and PM values – or better yet, reference live global spot prices – to ensure accurate pricing. While is can be impossible to predict the value of future markets, live reports help buyers make a prudent purchase. The use of an online calculator can also be helpful.
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Gold Price and Investment Demand
Commodities are basic goods that can be interchanged with other commodities of the same type in commerce. Gold is not specifically a currency or a commodity. Since it has the features of both, it is best described as “commodity money.” Trading happens on the spot market in addition to the future market used for commodities. Gold is not reliant on a single central bank or government. For this reason, precious metal investments are used to hedge against inflation and financial turmoil.
What is the Gold Spot Price and How is it Determined?
Traders determine the spot price of gold on futures exchanges. Metals contracts change hands in London and Shanghai when U.S. markets are closed. But the largest and most influential market for metals prices is the U.S. COMEX exchange. The quote for immediate settlement at any given time is effectively the spot price.
Spot (paper) prices can sometimes diverge from real-world pricing in the markets for physical precious metals. For example, during periods of extreme stress in markets it may be impossible to obtain physical metal anywhere near the quoted spot price. Premiums on retail bullion products may surge as a consequence. When the physical market diverges from the paper market, wholesale over the counter prices may be more realistic than spot prices.
Why Does the Gold Price Fluctuate?
Excessive money printing tends to drive gold prices up, as there are more currency units chasing basically the same number of gold ounces. On the other hand, the price of gold does not tend to perform as well as compared to other assets when governments are behaving responsibly and living within their means. Geopolitical conflict, mine supply, and demand for gold in jewelry also have a bearing on gold prices.
An investor will seek to make a profit, but there is always a risk of loss with any investment. The most successful investors seek updated information daily, each week, and every month before they start to trade, sell, or purchase gold. The published dollar amount rates will constantly change, so buyers will expect to gain and lose along the way. Before investing, check indexes such as the NASDAQ for the latest rates based on the USD. Review the end of the day Commodity Future Price Quotes for Gold (COMEX) and determine the bottom line using online calculators. Rely on facts rather than the opinions of a writer at a blog website, tweets from a social media account you follow or commentary at the office. A random comment may not be valid while facts and figures are verifiable. Rather than making a quick response to a conversation, take the time to do your own research.
What Causes the Price of Gold to Go Up?
A hundred years ago, gold sold for just $20 per ounce. In recent years gold has traded between $1,200 and $1,900 per ounce. That’s a huge move up in nominal terms over the past century. Yet in real terms gold prices today aren’t much different from what they were when they were last quoted at $20 an ounce.
It’s not that gold has become so much more expensive. It’s that the currency in which gold prices are quoted has depreciated so much. (The U.S. dollar has lost nearly 97% of its value since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.)
Over time, gold’s value in terms of purchasing power stays relatively constant. Of course, there are major cycles wherein gold can gain or lose value dramatically due to supply and demand issues, speculation, or manipulation. But as long as the dollar keeps losing value, gold – the ultimate money – can be expected to ultimately reflect that depreciation by carrying a steadily higher price tag.
What Was the Highest Price of Gold per Ounce Ever?
Gold prices hit an all-time high of $1,900/oz. in August 2020. However, that nominal high wasn’t actually a new high in real terms. The January 1980 peak of $850/oz still hasn’t been surpassed when adjusted for inflation.
According to the government’s own inflation calculator, $850 in 1980 dollars translates to $2,475 in 2020 dollars…and $2,708 in 2020 dollars.
These are low-end inflation adjustments based on a heavily massaged Consumer Price Index. In recent years the CPI has tended to understate real-world inflation, according to many independent economists. So gold could run significantly higher even than the CPI-adjusted figures before making a true new high in real terms.
Gold Price Per Gram
How many grams are in an ounce of gold?
One troy ounce of gold is equivalent to 31.1 grams. Although gold prices are most commonly quoted in ounces, gold bullion is also bought and sold by the gram. Grams can be a more convenient unit for pricing when trading gold in small quantities or using gold for everyday barter transactions.
Better bullion dealers sell gold bullion products by the gram. For example, Pamp Suisse and other well-regarded mints produce 1 gram gold bars. Also, the Royal Canadian Mint produces packs of 1 gram gold Maple Leaf coins.
What is the Dow to Gold Ratio?
The Dow:gold ratio measures how highly valued the stock market is compared to gold. The Dow:gold ratio tends to move lower during both deflationary depressions (as in the 1930s) and inflationary panics (as in the late 1970s). At the bottom of the Great Depression, Dow:gold reached a 1:1 ratio. That same 1:1 ratio was briefly reached again in January 1980 when both gold prices and the Dow Jones Industrials sported an 850 handle.
In 2020 and 2020, the Dow:gold multiple has ranged from 16 to 20. During the next financial crisis, that ratio is likely to collapse in favor of gold. Some gold bugs believe a return to 1:1 parity will happen again.
A 10,000 Dow and $10,000 gold, for example, may seem far fetched today. But during a true panic in markets, one or the other price extremes – or both, simultaneously – could be realized.
Ways to Purchase Gold
Gold products as an investment are typically purchased in the following three forms:
The weight of gold is measured by troy ounce. Gold can be purchased by the gram, in ounces, or even by the kilo in the form of a gold brick. Since sizes vary from an oz to kilos, direct physical possession of gold is not required. Often this gold is stored in a safe, with a dealer, or at the bank or another facility. Other options include gold certificates, exchange-traded products, gold bullion price derivatives, and gold accounts.
For example, contributing to a gold or precious metals IRA is another way to invest get and exposure to the gold price and the physical metal itself. The IRA custodian allows more diverse investments. The IRA holds physical bars or bullion as well as paper assets. Gold self-directed accounts can also include other types of retirement accounts. Precious metals that can be held in these IRA accounts include gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. It is required these metals held inside of an IRA are in the form approved by the IRS for this purpose.
Types of Gold Bullion?
The three main types of gold bullion are bars, rounds, and coins. Each type come in a variety of sizes. Bars may range from a single gram to 100 ounces each. Rounds and coins are commonly sold in 1 ounce and fractional sizes.
The main difference between a round and a coin is that the former is produced by a private mint while the latter is produced by a government mint. A government-minted gold coin typically has a legal tender face value attached to it (which is considerably less than its intrinsic metal value).
Specialty products such as jewelry and collector’s items are generally not considered to be bullion. Bullion investors should avoid collectible (numismatic) coins that carry high premiums over spot prices.
Is Gold Bullion Traceable by the Government
In almost all cases, no – dealers do not have to report the transaction to the IRS or other federal agencies.
There is one extremely rare exception. For a disclosure requirement to be triggered, BOTH of the following conditions have to be met:
Personal checks, debits, bank wires, and credit card payments are NOT considered cash or cash instruments. Therefore, purchases using them do not trigger disclosure by a dealer regardless of the amount.
How to Invest in Gold
From beginners to educated investors, it is easy to invest in gold. Before signing a contract or purchasing any gold product, prices should be calculated and clearly quoted. Verify all costs and fees before you commit to buy anything. Ask questions and remember that time is of the essence. While you should never feel pressured, the price of gold rises changes every minute so expect to be asked to make a commitment to lock in your price.
Whether you have hundreds or thousands to spend, this savvy financial asset is accessible to everyone. Call Money Metals Exchange for a free expert consultation today. The process is discreet, secure, and beginner-friendly. Investing in gold is a cost-effective, simple way to create a safe-haven for your assets. Money Metal Exchange is with you every step of the way as you discover the mystery and wonder of owning gold. Contact us today to find out more about investing in gold and other precious metals!
Storing Physical Gold Safely
It’s good to take a two-pronged approach. First, store some of your gold at home in a well-concealed safe for immediate access in case of emergency. Store the remainder of your gold in a secure, insured bullion storage facility. Insist on segregated gold storage to avoid co-mingling your bullion with that held by other customers.
Safe-deposit boxes at banks are generally not suitable for bullion storage. Some banks have policies that explicitly prohibit gold bullion. Plus, your gold would be at risk in the event the bank goes under or gets raided by government agents. You don’t want your gold tied into the banking system, even indirectly.
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