Longhash Blockchain Researchers Dispute 2017 ‘Single Whale’ Theory


Blockchain education platform Longhash has released research that it claims debunks the recent single-whale theory of the 2017 Bitcoin (BTC) bull run.

On Nov. 18, researchers at crypto analytics firm Longhash announced that they have calculated a metric called “Tether Purchasing Power,” which shows more insight into the question of whether Tether (USDT) was used to manipulate the cryptocurrency markets.

Tether’s ability to manipulate the markets is when BTC’s price falls

According to Longhash, the metric measures how much BTC could be bought with the entire Tether supply at any given time, pointing out that the higher the ratio, the more likely it is for Tether to potentially manipulate the markets.

The researchers show statistics that seem to indicate that during the 2017 bull run, Tether Purchasing Power increased until the summer, but then started to decline towards the end of the year. At that time Bitcoin was still moving towards an all-time-high. 

Longhash’s data seems to indicate that Tether has a chance to manipulate the markets when BTC is in a downward price trend, as it shot up significantly during the bear market, reaching its peak at the end of 2018. The researchers said:

“This suggests that even if Tether were indeed manipulating the market, its ability to do so actually is strongest when the Bitcoin price falls. This contradicts the claim that Tether issuance drove the 2017 bull market. The supply of Tether actually failed to keep up during the height of the bull market.”

Study claimed that major Bitcoin price manipulation occurred in winter 2017

The recently updated academic paper titled “Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?” suggested that one single player or entity was allegedly responsible for Bitcoin’s historic price surge at the end of 2017. According to the paper, the Tether stablecoin and its issuer Bitfinex played a key role in the alleged hoax.

Bitfinex denied all allegations, calling the publication “a transparent attempt to use the semblance of academia for a mercenary money grab.” Many analysts agree and laugh off the single whale theory, saying that while the crypto market is not immune to manipulation, to assume that someone could single-handedly drive the prices up to such an extent is quite a stretch.

Juan Villaverde and Martin Weiss of Weiss Ratings agency called it “preposterous” when speaking with Cointelegraph, adding:

“There is abundant anecdotal evidence that throws great doubt on the one-large-player theory. For example, exchanges were swamped and not able to onboard new customers. Google searches for “Bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” were off the charts. New crypto businesses and ICOs were popping up every day. All of this — and more — suggests that the crypto surge of 2017 was very much a mass phenomenon, with heavy public participation.”