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Research Shows That Whale on Bitfinex Was Behind 2017 BTC Bull Run
November 04  |  3 min read

Academics Claim One Whale is Behind 2017 BTC Record Price Surge

The COIN360 Editorial Team

Two professors that claimed last year that the 2017 BTC all-time high was a product of manipulation have now updated their research findings and shared that a single whale operating via Bitfinex was responsible for the brightest bitcoin moment to date.

In their Bloomberg interview, John Griffin from the University of Texas and Amin Shams from the Ohio State University shared that they have jointly updated their paper from last year, and that the peer-reviewed paper will be published in the next issue of the Journal of Finance.

After analyzing the transactions from March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, Griffin and Shams have arrived at the conclusion that the bitcoin manipulation that led to BTC reaching the $20,000 threshold was stirred by one whale acting alone.

This whale reportedly operated via Bitfinex, and the transaction involved Tether coins. Researchers are convinced that a single entity that they did not name influenced the price: with every whale’s purchase, the price came down in increments. The unveiled pattern only occurred during periods of Tether printing, and only on Bitfinex, concluded the researchers. “Simulations show that these patterns are highly unlikely to be due to chance. This one large player or entity either exhibited clairvoyant market timing or exerted an extremely large price impact on Bitcoin that is not observed in aggregate flows from other smaller traders.”

Bitfinex General Counsel Stuart Hoegner rejected their claims, accusing the researchers of a lack of “academic rigor,” as the research, in his opinion, is based on insufficient data. He further reproached academia of being influenced by monetary rewards connected to the “parasitic lawsuit” against Tether and Bitfinex.