Bitcoin’s 2023 Price Rise ‘Very Suspicious’, Says Manipulation Researcher
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.
To reach this conclusion, the paper’s two authors “sifted through an incredible 200 gigabytes of trading data, equal to the troves that the Smithsonian Institution collects in two years,” according to a new article in Fortune, “and followed sales and purchases from 2.5 million separate wallets.”
The researchers ultimately concluded that a single, still unidentified, Bitcoin “whale” triggered nearly 60% of Bitcoin’s one-year rise in 2017 from under $1,000 to over $19,000. But more importantly, Fortune now reports that Griffin “suspects that a similar dynamic is operating today.”
Toward the end of 2022, another mystifying trend caught Griffin’s eye. Despite the crypto crash and myriad other negative forces, every time Bitcoin briefly breached the $16,000 floor, it bounced above that level and kept stubbornly trading between $16,000 and $17,000. Almost unbelievably, as the crypto market has continued to unravel into 2023, Bitcoin has gone in the opposite direction, trading up 35% since Jan. 7 to $23,000.
“It’s very suspicious,” Griffin told Fortune. “The same mechanism we saw in 2017 could be at play now in the still unreal Bitcoin market.”
For Griffin, the way normally super-volatile Bitcoin went calm and stable in the stormiest of times for crypto fits a scenario where boosters are uniting to support and juice its price. “If you’re a crypto manipulator, you want to set a floor under the price of your coin,” added Griffin. “In a period of highly negative sentiment, we’ve seen suspiciously solid floors under Bitcoin.”
It’s important to note that no definitive proof of chicanery has so far emerged. “The space is bigger now so it’s harder to dig the data,” says Griffin. “Sophisticated players may be expert at hiding their identities.” We have seen credible leaks asserting that major market participants call meetings of the sector’s elite when they fear a crypto leader plans to make what they consider a reckless, industry-endangering move. But no evidence has surfaced that the players are gathering to coordinate buying of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Fortune data editor Scott DeCarlo ran a detailed analysis and found, among other things, that Bitcoin “at peak FTX-induced turmoil showed both its smallest swings ever by a wide margin, and divergence from low to high that was one-fourth to one-fifth its average over the past six years.” And they’re not the only ones asking questions:
In a blog post on Nov. 30 titled “Bitcoin’s Last Stand,” European Central Bank Director General for market operations Ulrich Bindseil and ECB adviser Jürgen Schaaf dismissed Bitcoin’s resurgence as “an artificially induced last gasp before the road to irrelevance.” Two leading figures on Wall Street told this writer on background that Bitcoin’s price action, by resisting a flood of bad news, looks phony and different from a normal free market ruled by independent buyers and sellers.
Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader wired_parrot for submitting the story.
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