Chinese Investors’ Appetite for Bitcoin Is Back Amid the Market Rally, Pushing USDT Premium Up

Appetite for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in China is back amid the recent market rally, as the latest data shows strong demand from Chinese buyers for the foremost USD-pegged stablecoin USDT, which offers a convenient way to acquire digital asset.

As bitcoin shot up roughly 30% over the last week and has crossed the psychological $5,000 mark, a massive fear of missing out (FOMO) buying of cryptos in China drives up the USDT premium on many over-the-counter(OTC) platforms such as Huobi and OKex.

The price of USDT surged to 7.08 yuan on an OTC platform on Monday morning, up from 4 percent from a month-low of 6.76 yuan, according to China’s blockchain media outlet Odaily. While the official rate is 1 USD = 6.7 CNY, Chinese investors had to pay a nearly 3 percent markup on OTC platforms for USDT. Although USDT price falls back to 6.95 yuan on Huobi OTC at the press time, it still shows a premium.

Many analysts in the country believed the premium represents the revival of the market as a large number of renewed investors drive significant capital into the market. The same situation repeated several times over the course of the 2017 bull market.

Zhao Doing, bitcoin billionaire and one of China’s largest OTC traders said on Weibo on April 9 that “ over 60 million USDT are released to the market today, the largest issuance so far this year. The changes in the USDT supply represents the fund’s change in the crypto market and is closely correlated with a bullish turn for bitcoin.”

The USDT premium going up also allows investors to find arbitrage opportunities. An algorithmic crypto trader who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Odaily that many quantitative trading teams were converting US dollars to USDT and then exchanging USDT for CNY or other cryptos to profit from the added premium.

China was the world’s largest crypto trading market in terms of volume before the crypto ban which was issued in September 2017. Although China’s regulators have banned domestic crypto tradings, Chinese investors can also bypass governmental firewalls to buy bitcoin or USDT via an OTC exchange and engage in crypto-to-crypto trades on global cryptocurrency exchanges, still playing a role in affecting BTC’s day-to-day valuation.

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