Crypto markets are seeing a tentative recovery today, after the weekend saw leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin hit its lowest level yet in 2018.
Market visualization from Coin360
Bitcoin (BTC) is trading around $6,270 at press time, up about 1.3 percent over the 24-hour period. Yesterday, June 24, BTC plummeted to $5,833, its lowest price level in 2018, and a price point it had not hit since October 2017. A rapid three-hour bounce yesterday between 2 and 5 PM UTC saw the coin recover back to around $6,200, today reclaiming a further $100.
Bitcoin price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index
Earlier today, the release of 250 million more Tether (USDT) tokens – a stablecoin that claims to be backed 1:1 by the US dollar, but has yet to prove its basis in a public audit – raised concern amongst crypto commentators. Tether issuance has previously drawn allegations of suspicious positive knock-on effects on BTC price performance.
According to Tether’s OmniExplorer, today’s issuance occurred just before 3 PM UTC:
Starting at 3 PM UTC, Bitcoin did see a solid 2.2 percent rise from $6,166 to $6,305 in the space of about 45 minutes – but the coin’s price spike today appears to have set in earlier, when the coin began to recover from its intraday low of $6,108 around 2 PM UTC.
A much-discussed paper released June 13 by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams of the University of Texas argued that Tether has been “used to provide price support and manipulate cryptocurrency prices,” extending the allegations to connected crypto exchange Bitfinex, and suggesting that price manipulation was behind Bitcoin’s $20,000 peak in 2017.
Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $460 to press time, up just under one percent over the past 24 hours. The leading altcoin dropped down to $427 yesterday, and has been trading below the $500 threshold since June 22.
Ethereum price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index
Almost all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap are seeing small positive gains over the 24-hour period, according to CoinMarketCap, with anonymity-oriented altcoins Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) seeing particularly strong growth, both up roughly 5 percent on the day.
Negative news has been ongoing in response to a regulatory crackdown on crypto exchanges in Japan, with the two vice presidents of Japan’s self-regulatory cryptocurrency exchange body resigning after both of their exchanges received regulatory warnings last week.
Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at around $256 billion at press time, up from its intra-week low of around $235 billion yesterday.
Total market cap of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap