One Bitcoin "whale" may have fueled the currency's price spike in 2017

A single whale on Bitfinex likely manipulated bitcoin’s historic surge in 2017 say academics

Bitcoin whale may have manipulated coin’s price to spur 2017 bull run

Researchers behind an earlier study claiming that US Dollar Tether (USDT) was the cause of the 2017 Bitcoin bull market peak now claim that a single large holder drove the price upwards.

The general counsel further noted that "macroeconomic experts and stakeholders" in the cryptocurrency space understand that "the global rise of digital currency that has driven the markets and demand for Tether".

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Griffin and Amin Shams - of the universities of Texas and OH respectively - have updated their previous research, which made the case that market misconduct was allegedly behind Bitcoin's bull run to an all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017. Griffin and Shams now tell Bloomberg that just a single whale was likely behind the behavior.

The report, out on October 28, was an update from a study the duo released in June 2018, which found tether was "used both to stabilize and manipulate" bitcoin's price in 2017. This was their finding in a paper published in 2018, a paper that has since been updated. Moreover, according them, simulations show that these patterns are highly unlikely to be due to chance. Furthermore, Tether minted 2.8 billion USDT from 2017 to 2018 and used the token to "flood the Bitfinex exchange and purchase other cryptocurrencies".

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They say the single largest player on Bitfinex "either exhibited clairvoyant market timing or exerted an extremely large price impact on Bitcoin that is not observed in the aggregate flows from other small traders". Though charged by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the US Justice Department in 2017 for its use in market manipulation, Tether was acquitted at last. And the NY attorney general has sued Tether and Bitfinex, accusing them of participating in a cover-up after losing $850 million worth of customer and corporate funds.

At the heart of the attorney general's claims is Crypto Capital, a Panamanian payment processing firm that Bitfinex used to allow some customers to deposit money on the exchange. The suspect, in according with Polish rules preventing the release of full names, was identified as Ivan M.L.by the county's National Prosecutor's Office. Poland deported him to Greece.

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