The Bitcoin price surge which saw the king coin hit its current all-time high of $20,000, is one of the most fondly remembered events for not just the Bitcoin community, but also the cryptosphere at large. However, new research has come to light that the event was surprisingly triggered by just on whale who used Tether’s USDT.

Last year, Ohio University’s Amin Shams and John M. Griffin from the University of Texas, both published a paper that claimed the price surge did not happen naturally and was specifically triggered by market manipulation. Now, the two researchers have extended the research to show that the manipulation was done by just one whale. The paper also suggests that the USDT was used for the manipulation.

“Purchases with Tether are timed following market downturns and result in sizable increases in Bitcoin prices. The flow is attributable to one entity, clusters below round prices, induces asymmetric autocorrelations in Bitcoin, and suggests insufficient Tether reserves before month-end.”

A relationship between USDT and Bitcoin has been highlighted in the past, connecting Bitcoin spikes to periods of large USDT minting. It’s been assumed that USDT – a stablecoin backed to the dollar – is sometimes minted without any backing, and then used to buy large amounts of Bitcoin, triggering a spike. The research further states that:

“This pattern is only present in periods following printing of Tether, driven by a single large account holder, and not observed by other exchanges.”

Tether has however dismissed the claim and called it “foundationally flawed.”


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