New Report Blames Tether for Bitcoin’s Bull Run

Tether is back in the news thanks to a new report alleging it played a pivotal role in bitcoin’s mega-bull run last year. This isn’t the first time the dollar-pegged stablecoin has been blamed for market manipulation, but is the most compelling evidence to date that 2017’s record highs may not have been entirely organic.

How Untethered Is Bitcoin?

“Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?” runs the title of a provocative new research paper published today. Its authors have taken an algorithmic investigative approach, using blockchain analysis to determine the extent to which timed release of tethers into the cryptocurrency ecosystem may have served as a tool for artificially inflating prices. Long-time tether critic Bitfinexed has been alleging as much for months, and successfully persuaded a portion of the cryptocurrency community that tether-led market manipulation was rampant.

At the time, though, when BTC was hitting new all-time highs virtually every day all through November and December, most traders didn’t care; they were too busy watching their portfolio go up. But in the sober light of 2018’s enduring bear market, tether’s ability to influence the price of BTC is of major concern. If it transpires that last year’s record prices were the result of manipulation then without tether’s support, the prospect of bitcoin hitting another all-time high is remote. In fact, with BTC currently languishing below $6,500, even five figures feels like a long way off.

Tether Consistently Pumps BTC, Claims Report

The abstract to the report by John M. Griffin and Amin Shame states: “We find that purchases with Tether are timed following market downturns and result in sizable increases in Bitcoin prices…such heavy Tether transactions are associated with 50% of the meteoric rise in Bitcoin and 64% of other top cryptocurrencies…These patterns cannot be explained by investor demand proxies but are most consistent with the supply-based hypothesis where Tether is used to provide price support and manipulate cryptocurrency prices.”

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