Bloomberg reported this morning that a U.S. Justice Department probe into cryptocurrency market manipulation has turned its attention to Bitfinex and Tether. Bitfinex, a trading exchange, and Tether, a purportedly dollar-backed “stablecoin,” have overlapping leadership teams, and Bitfinex has been repeatedly accused of using Tether to manipulate the price of bitcoin.
The probe comes in the midst of a broad meltdown in the cryptocurrency market. As of this morning, even well-regarded cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and Ether were down 75% or more from December peaks. Many so-called “altcoins,” which Bitfinex deals in extensively, had lost even more of their value.