UPDATE: An earlier version of this article stated the supply of tether (USDT) had surged $500 million in five minutes, based on data from CoinMarketCap. However, archived versions of Tether's treasury page show similar readings for the stablecoin's supply over the past few days.
Bitcoin's price jumped $200 in an hour and a half on Monday, rising to a 30-day high of $7,800.
The world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization climbed after data provider CoinMarketCap showed a sudden jump in the supply of stablecoin tether (USDT).
The 5 percent rise in bitcoin's (BTC) price initially appeared to be preceded by a $500 million increase in USDT's market capitalization, from around $4.14 billion at 20:49 UTC to $4.65 billion at 20:54 UTC.
Tether's treasury website currently reads a value of $4,776,470,463.76 in total assets, securing $4,656,898,280.75 of liabilities.
However, archived versions of the page show similar readings over the past few days, suggesting CoinMarketCap's data did not capture the full supply previously. USDT runs on several different blockchain networks, including Omni, ethereum, Tron and Liquid.
Traders can deposit U.S. dollars with Tether Ltd., the issuer of USDT, and receive the stablecoin in return. Since USDT is pegged 1:1 to the dollar and is used to move money quickly between crypto exchanges, a swelling of its market cap could have been interpreted as an increase in demand for digital assets.
Bitcoin price index
It remains unclear, then, exactly why bitcoin jumped late Monday. Talks surrounding BTC’s use case as a safe haven asset are dominating investor channels amid the backdrop of the Iran/US tensions that have been ongoing since Jan. 3.
At the time of writing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is up 0.25 percent while the S&P 500 (SPX) is up 0.35 percent. Crude oil (USOIL) has taken a small hit and is down 0.35 percent so the narrative of BTC being a safe haven asset during times of uncertainty remains unclear at this stage.
Other major cryptos such as ether and XRP are up significantly by 5.76 and 11.18 percent respectively.
CoinMarketCap's tether data
A spokesperson for Tether did not respond to a request for comment, although after this article was published CTO Paolo Ardoino tweeted that CoinMarketCap had corrected its data.
"No issuance here," he wrote.
CoinMarketCap did not respond to a request for comment.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.