Bitcoin (BTC) was up in early trading to $10,500, rebounding after Thursday’s 11% tumble, the biggest single-day decline since March.
The sell-off, which took prices as low as about $10,000, coincided with a rout in U.S. stocks, rekindling long-simmering discussions over whether the largest cryptocurrency was a safe haven like gold or merely another risky asset. Prices for ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, slid 13%, potentially a sign of an unwind of the recent fervor in decentralized finance, or DeFi. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell and the dollar gained in foreign-exchange markets, indicating a flight to safety by traditional investors.
Joe DiPasquale, CEO of the cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund BitBull Capital, told First Mover in an email that “$10,000 still stands as a strong support and has absorbed selling pressure fairly well in the last two instances.” John Kramer, a trader at crypto over-the-counter firm GSR, told CoinDesk’s Daniel Cawrey that “many investors will see this as an opportunity to buy the dip.”
After years of debating whether tether (USDT) is fully backed 1-for-1 with U.S. dollars, the stablecoin’s critics and defenders alike can now put their money where their mouths are.
Opium, a derivatives exchange, has introduced credit default swaps (CDS) for USDT. The product, launched Thursday, insures the buyer in the event of default by Tether, the issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin and fifth-largest cryptocurrency overall.
As Opium’s blog points out, USDT is the lifeblood of the borderless cryptocurrency marketplace. The oldest stablecoin, USDT remains the largest such cryptocurrency by market cap and a top-five coin overall with $13.8 billion in issuance. Traders often use it to move money in and out of exchanges quickly to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities.
“You can use it to protect yourself against (or speculate on) a systemic failure of the most widely used stablecoin in crypto,” Opium said of the new CDS contract, in a blog post to be published Thursday.
There are nagging questions about the issuer’s creditworthiness. The firm behind USDT is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office for alleged misappropriation of funds, and Tether revealed in April 2019 that only 74% of USDT was backed by “cash and cash equivalents.”
Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at Tether, said through a spokesman: “Tether is solvent. Therefore, this solution is not really interesting to us or our community.”