Is bitcoin being manipulated again?
Bitcoin: the Target of More Tricks?
In 2018, a report issued by John Griffin, a finance professor at the University of Texas, showed that the currency was potentially being manipulated by tether during the previous year. It’s price spiked the way it did because people who owned tether would repeatedly use that currency to buy bitcoin, thereby pushing its price higher whenever BTC fell by even the slightest margin.
This is what tied bitcoin to the U.S. dollar. Later down the line, when bitcoin did finally reach it’s all-time high, the report alleges that those who had done the purchasing sold their stashes in droves – vast amounts all at once, causing the market to fall as dramatically as it did.
Now, there are concerns that the same thing is happening – that the crypto space’s big claim to fame is being twisted and turned behind closed doors. These worries stem from bitcoin’s sudden drop. The currency was trading for over $10,000 during the first few weeks of September, but then ultimately fell by more than $1,000 into the $8,000 range within just a matter of minutes earlier this week.
What’s the reason for such a massive drop from grace? In a new report, Arcane’s Bendik Norheim Schei writes:
Statistically, it is highly unlikely that the price falls in advance of CME settlement should be caused by mere coincidence. The figures thus support a hypothesis that the bitcoin price is manipulated in advance of CME settlement. However, the figures do not say anything about deliberate manipulation or, for example, only a result of investors’ strategy hedging.
CME is a Chicago-based company that has been offering BTC futures contracts since late 2017. These futures settle in cash, and many believe that traders involved in these contracts may be shorting the bitcoin price – betting low and purchasing assets for well below their worth.
Schei says that bitcoin futures contracts can be dangerous when used for this reason. He explains:
These futures contracts are optimal for manipulation. They are settled in dollars and not in bitcoin. The price for the settlement is determined by the bitcoin price in the underlying market. Thus, it is never actual bitcoin that changed hands, and it is just an overlying market traded in dollars.
Is Bakkt the Only Hope?
The primary focus, as of late, is Bakkt, which went live last Sunday to rather lackluster fanfare. Despite spending a year in the making and being considered one of the prime tools for making bitcoin and crypto legitimate, the platform traded only five bitcoin futures contracts within its first hour of operation. This number rose to a measly 28 within the first ten hours.
By the end of the day, only 72 contracts had been traded. Compare this figure to the thousands of contracts traded on CME.