Bitcoin price has not recovered from yesterday’s dangerous slip right after creating a monthly high. After very erratic ups and downs throughout the whole of Friday, Bitcoin eventually traded in a relatively narrow range of USD 8,390 and USD 8,225, or just within 2% of its total USD valuation.

Right now, it is almost in the middle of that range, as Saturday comes into full view for West Europe at USD 8,343 at 9:15 am London (CoinDesk). Altcoins, after taking on the full brunt of yesterday’s shock and losing significant gains themselves, are finally now stabilizing, with even a few of them posting strong gains (like NEO at 1.5% and Ripple at 3.73%).

Under-fire crypto company Tether, the issuer of stablecoin USDT, which is one of the most popular stablecoins used in exchanges throughout the world, has now hit back against a USD 1.4 trillion class-action lawsuit filed last Sunday. Speaking to the Economist, who had asked the company for comment, Tether’s general counsel has said:

“…the lawsuit is meritless and the plaintiffs’ complaint is rife with errors… [The firm] has not used Tethers to manipulate any market… [and operates with] full conformity with applicable laws.”

When they launched five years ago in 2014, Tether wanted to become a less volatile, more reliable store of value. Its chief use in the exchange market is by traders who want to either short or go long on Bitcoin, buying it with Tether when going long, and selling Bitcoin into USDT when going short. With a USD 4.1bn market capitalization, USDT is now a Top 5 ranked coin, but in the years since its inception, Tether has repeatedly been the source of scandal and mistrust, with all kinds of allegations from fraud, falsified data and untransparent behavior linked to its US dollar reserves (each USDT is supposed to be physically backed by a US dollar).

The current New York-based class action, filed through lawyers Roche Freedman LLP is actually against Bitfinex (a crypto exchange associated with Tether), Tether itself and associated stakeholders. It claimed:

“From 2017 through 2018, Tether printed 2.8 billion USDT and used it to flood the Bitfinex exchange and purchase other cryptocurrencies. This artificially inflated demand for cryptocurrencies and caused prices to spike… As the cryptocurrency market reached a fever pitch, Tether’s mass issuance of USDT created the largest bubble in human history.”

Academics, such as Professor John Griffin and graduate student Amin Shams have even provided research to show how the market manipulation in crypto is linked to Tether.

Tether has so far always survived every legal onslaught and every scandal, but analysts wonder now if this will be the final straw to break Tether’s back. And if so, what would the impact be on Bitcoin markets? One probably believes Bitcoin will only strengthen, as Tether’s downfall would demonstrate yet again the weakness of a centrally-controlled asset.

Meanwhile, Decrypt reminds us that another centralized product that a lot of people blamed for Bitcoin’s fall from USD 10,000, has not gone away. Apparently, Bitcoin futures provider Bakkt just recorded its highest-ever trading volumes quietly yesterday.

According to the report, the monthly contract at the futures platform registered an almost 9 fold gain (795% to be precise) from the previous day’s figures. An average of 224 monthly Bitcoin futures had changed hands on Bakkt when only 25 had done so the day before.

The slip in price, however, seems to have made all the traders lose interest, with only 80 contracts now on the trading floor. Crypto derivatives platform Interdax also saw a lot of traders react to the US SEC’s rejection of Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF. Its CTO, Charles Phan, explained:

“Now that the outcome is clear, volumes have settled back down again. When someone trades with the market makers on one exchange, the market maker might also hedge on another, hence the correlated volumes across exchanges.”

Although normal behavior and stable conditions may be good for the average trader and for exchanges, Bakkt may not view this normalcy as comforting. With its current average of only 139 BTC changing hands daily, it needs more panic and wild sentiment to do business.

For now, however, it is the weekend wait and see period. The bulls have not come out for a while during the traditional Sunday run, but there is still a long period left to October autumn.

 

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