Bitfinex/Tether (USDT) Scandal Knocks $10 Billion Off Market Cap
The still-recovering crypto market endured a massive loss on Thursday, April 25th, after allegations were made against a popular crypto exchange, Bitfinex. According to the New York Attorney General’s office announcement, the exchange covered up a massive $850 million-large loss by using the crypto market’s largest stablecoin, Tether (USDT). The Attorney General’s office also claims that the amount was taken from customer and corporate funds.
The announcement was followed by a $10 billion drop in the market cap of the entire crypto industry, and it even managed to affect Tether’s peg to the US dollar. However, the newest scandal quickly spread, as mentioned, and even the largest cryptocurrencies are currently experiencing massive losses, as the coin owners entered a massive sellout.
At the time of writing, the largest losses among the top 10 largest coins are being experienced by Ethereum, XRP, and Cardano, with their prices dropping by nearly 5%. Meanwhile, while the total market cap of the crypto industry did drop by $10 billion, and it reached $167 billion at one point, it is currently seeing recovery which allowed it to climb back to $171 billion at the time of writing.
The announcement impacts Tether
As a stablecoin, Tether’s price is supposed to be permanently bound to the price of USD, meaning that 1 USDT = $1. However, at 21:00 UTC on Thursday, USDT price started dropping from the set price of $1 to around $0.955, according to several exchanges and TradingView. The price then climbed back up to $0.97, and at the time of writing, it sits at $0.994120.
The other stablecoins immediately started seeing a lot more usage as numerous investors from around the world shifted from Tether towards them, including GUSD, USDC, and TrueUSD. In addition, Maker (MKR), which is the cryptocurrency behind the MakerDAO project, is also seeing a massive loss of over 14.65%, with its value dropping by over $73 in the past 24 hours.
As for Tether, this is far from being the first scandal in which the stablecoin was involved, and it might impact its future performance and usage. The coin has been rejected by a lot of investors ever since it was suspected that the company behind it might not have the funds to back every single USDT coin in circulation. Now, it is possible that even more investors will avoid using it, which is good news for its competitors, but it might also be devastating for Tether itself.
The crypto space suffers a massive drop in prices
While the announcement by the Attorney General’s office only concerns Tether and Bitfinex, a lot of other major cryptocurrencies had started trading in the red, and seeing massive price drops. Bitcoin, for example, dropped down to $4,953 after the announcement, although it is currently well on its way to recovery, with the price at the time of writing once again being above $5,300.
However, around 4,000 BTC was reportedly moved from Bitfinex following the announcement, which translates to around $20 million. Similar moves were seen before whenever an exchange was considered unsafe or troubled, which is not a particularly surprising reaction.
As mentioned, many other stablecoins started seeing a lot more usage following the announcement, as investors started selling Tether and going for its alternatives, such as GUSD or USDC. Most other coins among the top 10 largest cryptos also saw massive drops, but fortunately, the prices are currently starting to return to normal, indicating that the scandal might not leave particularly large consequences on the entire market.
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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Global Coin Report and/or its affiliates, employees, writers, and subcontractors are cryptocurrency investors and from time to time may or may not have holdings in some of the coins or tokens they cover. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency and read our full disclaimer.
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