3 Reasons Why One Trader Didn’t ‘Manipulate’ Bitcoin Price to $20K

Bitcoin (BTC) price highs in 2017 were not the result of a single trader on an exchange, the CEO of payment company Circle claims. In a series of tweets on Nov. 4, Jeremy Allaire disputed recent research which claimed Bitcoin’s bull run to $20,000 was the result of efforts by a single wallet holder. 

Circle CEO: Research fails to understand exchanges

The findings are currently featuring as part of the $1.4 trillion lawsuit against stablecoin Tether (USDT). Its issuance, researchers argue, coincided with Bitcoin price jumps. 



For Allaire, however, the idea that one Tether trader engaged in manipulation on an exchange had no logic.

“Exchanges use omni-bus wallets that pool all customer balances and transactions on and off the exchange. So an analysis that shows that ‘a single wallet’ was involved in flows from Bitfinex to other exchanges is meaningless. All it shows is that traders were trading,” he summarized.

Others, meanwhile, including Cointelegraph contributors, followed Allaire in disagreeing with the conclusion that entire markets were swayed by a single wallet.

“Wake up call; every market is ‘manipulated’. Everybody tweeting something about the price of a certain asset is ‘manipulating’ the market. Doesn’t mean you can’t make money,” trader Michaël van de Poppe summarized in a Twitter post on Monday.

Bruce Fenton, former executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, criticized the technical proficiency of the data.

“The entire premise seems to misunderstand how markets and stablecoins work,” he responded, calling the research “bad science.”

More Tether does not mean higher BTC price

The dispute comes as curious movements in Bitcoin price continue. As Cointelegraph reported, several recent jumps have sparked speculation, including one which induced the second-biggest daily gains in Bitcoin’s history. 

In December 2017, Tether’s market cap was around $1 billion. But while Bitcoin’s price is now 50% lower, Tether’s market cap has increased four times over to current levels of $4.1 billion.

Therefore, the issuance of new USDT thus does not directly correspond to BTC/USD staying higher.

Focus on China “breaking” exchanges

A further theory about the 2017 activity centers on China. According to Elaine Ou, a Bloomberg contributor formerly with Bitcoin mobile wallet app Abra, exchanges were unprepared for the consequences of Beijing’s ban on crypto trading. 

Citing research from crypto industry startup Chainalysis, Ou said Chinese investors had stockpiled Bitcoin using yuan in advance.

“Once the ban was in effect, the traders had no way to trade crypto back to yuan, so they shifted to using Tethers on overseas exchanges as a substitute for fiat currency (after all, the yuan is roughly pegged to the dollar),” she summarized.

The result, along with the initial coin offering, or ICO, phenomenon for exchanges was conspicuous. Ou added:

“Coinbase saw so much trading activity that the exchange ‘broke.’ And the idea that a lone whale fueled this yearlong Bitcoin bull run is more than a little silly.”

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