Tether-linked exchange Bitfinex was dealt a fresh blow after plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit refused to amend their complaint of BTC price manipulation.
As per a court filing dated December 2, the plaintiffs declined the opportunity to amend their complaint, following the publication of an independent research study which concluded that “USDT was being used to manipulate Bitcoin prices,” and that the manipulation was coming from a single entity, Finance Magnates reported.
The paper was published by Amin Sham and John Griffin of the University of Texas, who first published a study in 2017 suggesting Tether was in part responsible for BTC’s all-time highs of near $20,000.
Less than 1% of hours with such heavy Tether transactions are associated with 50% of the meteoric rise in Bitcoin and 64% of other top cryptocurrencies…….one large player on Bitfinex uses [USDT] to purchase large amounts of [BTC] when prices are falling and following the printing of [USDT].
In responding to the allegations in the paper, Bitfinex dismissed the credibility of the research, which they described as “equally flawed” as their previous study.
To obtain publication, Griffin and Shams have released a weakened yet equally flawed version of their prior article. The revised paper is a watered-down and embarrassing walk-back of its predecessor.
Researchers at Longhash appeared to contradict the allegations, by suggesting there was evidence that debunks the so-called ‘single whale’ theory. They said, “This suggests that even if Tether were indeed manipulating the market, its ability to do so actually is strongest when the [BTC] 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.”
The matter will now be contested as part of the ongoing class action lawsuit against Bitfinex, at a time of increasing pressure on the exchange.
It follows on from an SEC case brought on allegations of unauthorized use of Tether reserves, which transferred from Tether to plug gaps in Bitfinex’s books.
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