The Bitcoin (BTC) Manipulation Debate Continues, Researchers Debunk Tether Whale Theory

Stack of four silver Tether coins

The tiresome Tether (USDT) manipulation theory continues, following fresh accusations earlier this month that the 2017 bull run was caused by a single ‘whale’.

In cryptocurrency terms, a ‘whale’ is a single individual (or group) who holds such a large amount of cryptocurrency that they could potentially manipulate the market by selling or moving their assets. Since the epic bull run of 2017 that saw Bitcoin reach almost $20,000 in value, there have been repeated accusations that the rally was the result of market manipulation. Tether (USDT), the U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin created by major crypto exchange Bitfinex, has long been the target of such accusations.

Earlier this year, the New York Attorney General (NYAG) launched an investigation into Bitfinex following evidence suggesting that the company attempted to cover up $850 million which was lost to a third-party payment processor in Panama called Crypto Capital. The investigation follows a class-action lawsuit accusing Bitfinex of causing trillions of dollars of damage to the crypto market by printing Tether tokens.

A single individual

According to Bloomberg, the ‘single whale’ theory was put forward by the University of Texas professor John Griffin and Ohio State University’s Amin Shams. They noted a pattern that large Bitcoin purchases were made on the Bitfinex exchange by a single large account holder directly following the printing of new Tether tokens. The allegations appeared to fall in line with previous allegations regarding the NYAG case but have now apparently been debunked by new research.

Tether Purchasing Power

Crypto statistics and research firm LongHash have calculated a metric called the Tether Purchasing Power which reveals how likely Tether could be used to manipulate the market. The metric works out how much Bitcoin (BTC) could be bought with Tether at any single time to see how easily it could manipulate the market.

The statistics indicate that during the bull run, Tether Purchasing Power was actually at its weakest point, making it highly unlikely to have been responsible. In fact, the time Tether has the highest chance of manipulating the market was when Bitcoin was going down. The evidence, if accurate, is fairly difficult to argue with – but will it finally put to rest the ongoing accusations regarding Tether?

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