By William Watts, MarketWatch
MarketWatch photo illustration/Everett Collection
Another cryptocurrency-related hack wasn’t enough to keep bitcoin down Tuesday, as it rebounded from early weakness to trade above $8,300 and notch the latest in a string of all-time highs before retreating again.
The digital currency wobbled after the company behind Tether, a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency, said nearly $31 million worth of funds were “improperly removed from the Tether treasury wallet through malicious action by an external attacker.” Tether said it would not redeem any of the stolen tokens and was in the process of attempting to recover them and prevent their entry into “the broader ecosystem.”
Bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD +0.75% soon bounced back, however, trading as high as $8,362.30 before turning back into negative territory on the day. In recent action, a single bitcoin fetched $8,113.85, a loss of 1.5% on the day. Bitcoin is up more than 750% since the end of last year.
The currency broke the $8,000 barrier for the first time over the weekend and has shrugged off high-profile critics who contend cryptocurrencies pose security issues and exhibit the characteristics of a market bubble.
Recent support has been attributed to plans by CME Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210449693/composite CME +1.43% , operator of the world’s largest futures exchange, to introduce bitcoin futures later this year—a move supporters say may enhance institutional interest in the product.
Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM +0.07% is weighing potential opportunities in the futures market, including whether there is demand among the bank’s futures-brokerage customers for the proposed contract.
J.P. Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon has been among the most vocal Wall Street critics of bitcoin, calling the cryptocurrency craze “a fraud” in September and comparing it to the tulip mania craze of the 17th century.