The world’s leading cryptocurrencies shed value in the matter of minutes, with bitcoin – the largest virtual currency – having lost more than four percent in the last 24 hours. As of 9.56am UK time, BTC is down $249, or 4.61 percent, to trade at $5,169.20, according to data from CoinDesk. In the same period, ethereum and XRP have dropped six and three percent, respectively. At the time of writing, ethereum is down $11, or 6.74 percent, at $153.24, while XRP has lost 2.9 percent to trade at $0.3026.
The crypto plunge came after the operator of cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex was accused of raiding the reserves of major stablecoin Tether to mask $850 million in alleged missing funds.
The accusations were made by the New York attorney general and detailed in papers filed at the Manhattan Supreme Court.
The papers claim Bitfinex covered up the alleged lost funds with at least $750 million from Tether cash reserves.
Bitfinex accused the attorney general’s court filings of being “riddled with false assertions”.
The company went on to deny the allegations.
It claimed the funds were “not lost but have been, in fact, seized and safeguarded”.
The company said in a statement on its website: “Bitfinex and Tether have been fully cooperative with the New York attorney general’s office, as both companies are with all regulators.
“The New York attorney general’s office should focus its efforts on trying to aid and support our recovery efforts.”
The same response was issued on the Tether website.
The companies added they will challenge the order.
It continued: “Both Bitfinex and Tether are financially strong – full stop.
“Bitfinex and Tether will vigorously challenge this, and any and all other actions, by the New York Attorney General’s office.”