A Study by University of Texas: Bitcoin Price Was Manipulated Last Year
For people constantly looking for updates on bitcoin price, this one is going to top the list. BTC price has been constantly in the speculation, specially after it reached an all time high to about $20000 in December 2017, and consistently tumbled, crashing the cryptocurrency market.
According to a paper released on Wednesday by an academic from University of Texas, with a history of spotting fraud in financial markets, a concentrated campaign of price manipulation may have accounted for at least half of the increase in the price of Bitcoin and other big cryptocurrencies last year.
Released on June 13, 2018, the paper, entitled “Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?”, was written by John Griffin and Ph.D. candidate Amin Shams. The former is a professor of finance at the University of Texas, and the latter is a Ph.D. candidate at the same institution.
Mr. Griffin looked at the flow of digital tokens going in and out of Bitfinex and identified several distinct patterns that suggest that someone or some people at the exchange successfully worked to push up prices when they sagged at other exchanges. To do that, the person or people used a secondary virtual currency, known as Tether, which was created and sold by the owners of Bitfinex, to buy up those other cryptocurrencies.
Griffin and Shams write,
“By mapping the blockchains of Bitcoin and Tether, we are able to establish that entities associated with the Bitfinex exchange use Tether to purchase Bitcoin when prices are falling. Such price supporting activities are successful, as Bitcoin prices rise following the periods of intervention.”
Many industry players expressed concern at the time that the prices were being pushed up at least partly by activity at Bitfinex, one of the largest and least regulated exchanges in the industry.
The researchers continue:
“These effects are present only after negative returns and periods following the printing of Tether. Indeed, even less than 1% of extreme exchange of Tether for Bitcoin has substantial aggregate price effects. The buying of Bitcoin with Tether also occurs more aggressively right below salient round-number price thresholds where the price support might be most effective.”
It was highly believed that it was mainly through Bitfinex that Tether dollars make their way into the world. Additional allegations have popped up regarding Bitfinex, including an alleged link to Colombian cocaine – two fraudulent companies had deposited money linked to drug trafficking in a Polish bank account apparently belonging to Bitfinex. The exchange denied the allegations.
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