Bitcoin’s price suddenly jumped at around 16:30 London time, rising by about $400 from around $7,700 to a new all-time high of $8,100.
While its trading volumes stand at near $3 billion, with Bitfinex handling the most of any other exchange at around $300 million during the past 24 hours.
The price jump was led by Bitfinex which developed a premium with other exchanges. On Bitstamp, bitcoin’s price was $70 lower than on Bitfinex, with Gdax standing at $50 lower.
Why this premium developed is not clear, but some allege that Bitfinex is printing out fake money through Tether, a centralized digital currency that is meant to be pegged to the dollar.
That pegging is done by each dollar representing one Tether, but some allege these dollars don’t exist at all, with Bitfinex printing unbacked Tether.
That might in part explain this relatively huge premium, which is quite curious because usually there is no premium between western exchanges.
The main reason is because the premium is in effect free money. You can buy btc on stamp cheaply and sell it on finex expensively, making somewhat risk free gains.
Therefore it may not last long, but it is quite curious that there is one at all, especially at such a considerable level of $70 or more.
Bitfinex, on their part, has not really responded to allegations except to say “Bitfinex is solvent and both fiat and crypto withdrawals are functioning as normal.”
However, they provide no evidence of insolvency nor, more importantly, any evidence that the nearly $700 million Tether is backed by actual dollars.
Some $300 million Tether are longing bitcoin on Bitfinex, yet where all those hundreds of millions came from at a time when Bitfinex is under a banking blockade is not clear at all.
Thus raising questions about bitcoin’s biggest exchange. Specifically, where all of this new Tether is coming from, and, perhaps more importantly, why have they developed a price premium, even if it might turn out to be temporary.