One year ago, researchers claimed that the price spike was driven by several major players, but after analyzing transactions made in Bitcoin and Tether, they concluded that the crypto race may have been created by just one whale.
In 2018, College of Texas professor John Griffin together with Ohio Point University assistant professor Amin Shams carried out a study that proved that several major players - so-called ‘whales’ - were responsible for manipulating the cryptocurrency market in 2017. The researchers believe that these whales used Tether stablecoin to maintain the price of Bitcoin after market downturns. The Bitfinex crypto exchange, which was also suspected of colluding with the creators of Tether, was linked to these manipulations. Back then, the company was sued by the New York Attorney General for concealing losses of client and corporate assets amounting to $850 million.
Although some experts were skeptical about the claims made by Griffin and Shams, researchers have since reached an even more baffling conclusion: the market was controlled by a single whale. They analyzed transactions made in the Bitcoin and Tether networks from March 1, 2017, until March 31, 2018. It turned out that someone started actively purchasing Bitcoins after the price dropped by a certain number of points. These patterns emerged only after additional Tether tokens were released and only on the Bitfinex exchange, and the account was managed by a single owner.
Tether representatives have announced that the research was fundamentally flawed and based on an insufficient volume of data. However, they have yet to disprove the conflict of interests between Bitfinex and Tether and the possibility of a criminal financial scheme.
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