The price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seems to change just as randomly and as often as the direction of the wind. Up, down, sideways; for all of the technology and analytical tools that have been developed to trade in the cryptocurrency market, we still can’t predict the future.
But some can influence it.
Holders of large amounts of a particular kind of cryptocurrency (also known as crypto “whales”) have been observed on several exchanges making large buy and sell orders, moves that seem to have had major direct impacts on the prices of some major cryptocurrencies.
Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital, publicly observed on Twitter that an Ethereum whale had been gradually accumulating a large amount of ETH tokens over the last several weeks.
Market manipulation in action?
Most recently, the whale placed an order for nearly 20,000 ETH tokens on Binance, bringing the total of ETH tokens purchased by the whale to nearly 300,000 (worth approximately $70 million at the time of writing.)
— Su Zhu 🦁 (@zhusu) July 18, 2019
Perhaps as a direct result of the 20,000 ETH order, the price of Ethereum rose past the $200 point and had settled around $224 by press time.
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Some began to speculate that the gigantic order was a so-called “prop bid,” which is a manipulative maneuver intended to temporarily boost the price of a cryptocurrency. The actor behind a prop bid will use a large buy order in order to attract positive attention to an asset before abruptly withdrawing or canceling the order.
However, the fact that the order began to fill just a few minutes after it was placed, in addition to the whale’s track record as a buyer acted as strong evidence that the order was for real.
Usually I’d agree, but I disagree here. Whoever this entity is had a 350+ BTC buy wall the other night, and I watched the entire order get sold into piece by piece
I don’t see this as bullish or bearish
— kerneltrader (@kerneltrader) July 18, 2019
The buy order came just a couple of days after crypto YouTuber Chico Crypto claimed that a sell order on Bitstamp worth 15,000 ETH triggered a slump in crypto markets.
Concerns over market manipulation in the cryptocurrency space have played a massive role in the SEC’s repeated decisions not to make a decision about whether or not they should allow for the creation of a Bitcoin ETF.
Earlier this year, Bitwise Asset Management took a novel approach in addressing these concerns by essentially saying that yes, market manipulation is an active force and that they knew exactly when and how it was happening. The company published a comprehensive report on wash trading on cryptocurrency exchanges, resulting in quite a bit of upheaval and controversy across the industry.
However, the report did not acknowledge the role that cryptocurrency whales may have on cryptocurrency prices. Still, it is known that a substantial amount of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, are aggregated among the top 1% of crypto holders.