The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly looking to see if the atmospheric rise of bitcoin in 2017 was caused, in part, by alleged market manipulation through a particular cryptocurrency known as Tether, Bloomberg reported. According to the news outlet, unnamed sources are investigating a reported web that could encompass Tether and bitcoin, along with the Bitfinex digital currency exchange. While certain academics and traders have claimed that bitcoin was bought with Tether at key points in the market, Tether and Bitfinex Chief Executive Officer JL van der Velde have “previously rejected such claims,” according to the outlet. Bloomberg said that outside lawyers for Bitfinex and Tether, along with the general counsel of Bitfinex, did not respond to the outlet’s requests for comment.
In other news, the North Dakota Securities Department has brought a cease-and-desist order against an initial coin offering (ICO) project called the Union Bank Payment Coin (UBPC), CoinDesk reported. The project is allegedly masquerading as Union Bank AG, based in Liechtenstein, for the ICO's promotion. The department’s commissioner claimed the ICO had taken elements off the bank’s website site, such as its verbiage, images and style. According to the outlet, the ICO purportedly said that it is the “world’s first security token backed by a fully licensed bank.” The ICO also reportedly said that it was providing a “stablecoin that is fully backed by a fiat currency — the Swiss franc.”
Bitcoin continued its downward slide on Tuesday (Nov. 20), falling under the $4,300 level during the day, Reuters reported. The popular cryptocurrency, which reached a high of almost $20,000 last year, notched losses of 25 percent in only a week. During trading hours in the United States, XRP dropped by up to 14 percent as ether fell up to 16 percent. The price of bitcoin as of 10:10 p.m. EST was $4,350.41, according to CoinDesk, and the price of Ethereum was $129.26.