A Conflicting Account: Academics Argue That Tether Was Used to Manipulate Bitcoin’s Bullrun
A Conflicting Account: Academics Argue That Tether Was Used to Manipulate Bitcoin’s Bullrun: Tether needed the good publicity FSS’s report brought, mainly because another report from this week gave damning credence to a long-held suspicion within the cryptocurrency community. Professors John M. Griffin and Amin Shams at the University of Austin, Texas published a 66-page long study this week that finds “Tether is used to provide price support and manipulate cryptocurrency prices,” specifically Bitcoin. The academics found a positive correlation between Bitcoin’s downward price movements and the issuance of fresh Tethers. They found that Bitfinex, who shares a CEO in Jan Ludovicus van der Velde with Tether, was responsible for the majority of Tether’s purchasing power and monetary flow during these episodes.
Crypto At A Glance
The analysis showed a pattern of Bitcoin price support, Griffin said. First, Tethers are created by the parent company Tether Ltd., often in large chunks such as 200 million. Almost all new coins then move to Bitfinex, he said. When Bitcoin prices drop soon after the issuance, Tethers at Bitfinex and other exchanges are used to buy Bitcoin “in a coordinated way that drives the price,” Griffin said in an interview.
“I’ve looked at a lot of markets,” he said. “If there’s fraud or manipulation in a market it can leave tracks in the data. The tracks in the data here are very consistent with a manipulation hypothesis.”
Griffin’s paper describes several patterns uncovered in a yearlong period. First it found that flows weren’t symmetric. When Bitcoin’s price fell, purchases with Tether tended to increase, helping to reverse the decline. But during times when Bitcoin rose, Griffin said he didn’t see the reverse occur. That’s “suggestive of Tether being used to protect Bitcoin prices during downturns,” he wrote.
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