18,000 bitcoins were transferred to a Bitcoin derivatives exchange called BitMEX yesterday. This is worth $114,768,824 at the current price.
— KKTHXBYE (@kkkthxbye) August 14, 2018
The bulk of the transfer was made from 16 wallets at 08:50 GMT.
Interestingly, this happened just before the price of Bitcoin recovered from under $6,000 to approximately $6,400 over the following 24 hours.
All of these wallets sent 464.9 BTC to another, unidentified wallet at the same time.
Ecological effect of migratory patterns
This could be significant because large movements of Bitcoin can have a drastic effect on the market. In February 2018, a man called Nobuaki Kobayashi, who is the bankruptcy trustee for once-dominant Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, sold 18,000 BTC, causing Bitcoin to crash the following day.
Then in April, the Bitcoin price dropped after two unidentified users moved sums of 6,000+ Bitcoin, although there were political developments happening at the same time which could have affected the price.
BitMEX, which stands for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, is a Bitcoin/dollar derivatives market based in the Seychelles. It offers leverage of up to 100x, according to its website, which also claims 24-hour trading volumes of $4.95 billion.
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It broke its own record on the 25th of July 2018 by processing more than one million Bitcoin contracts in a single 24 hour period:
A new BitMEX (and industry) record: 1,000,000 XBT (> $8BN) traded in the last 24 hours!
— BitMEX (@BitMEXdotcom) July 25, 2018
XBT is described on the BitMEX website as a ‘Bitcoin Perpetual’ – a perpetual is a bond with no expiration date. The exchange also offers Ethereum-based derivative trading, to which it attributed its record volumes.
In January 2018, the exchange sold all of its Bitcoin Cash for Bitcoin, compensating customers at the rate of 1 BCH to 0.1707 XBT. BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes is an optimistic man; he told CNBC that he expects BTC to reach $18,000 each by the end of this year.
What can be concluded from this?
As you may have noted, the price of Bitcoin has risen in this case, in contrast to what has happened in similar situations in the past. A couple of hypotheses can be made. One is that the market has responded favourably to the fact that this particular venue received a large amount of money. Another is that the market has not responded to it at all, and would have risen anyway. If the latter is the case, we should also ask ourselves if the previous price drops were really the result of large transfers.
Another point to take into account, however, is that this transfer does not seem to have been widely reported, in contrast with the earlier examples. In terms of cryptocurrency, this is very significant, because social media chatter has a real effect on prices.