Business 1 year ago

Cecille de Jesus

Recent Tether hack stirs up rumors of BTC pump-and-dump conspiracy with Bitfinex

Questions about how Bitfinex is staying afloat with no publicly known bank backing them is inciting dangerous theories.

In light of the recent Tether heist—which saw a culprit (or culprits) make off with $31 million worth of its US dollar-backed tokens, USDT, talks about an inside job are not the only ones circulating. Theories of a possible collusion between Tether and Bitfinex to rig the cryptocurrency market are also surfacing.

Here’s what’s circulating in the corners of the web: no bank wants to partner up with Bitfinex, so they’re pumping the price of BTC in order to keep a steady flow of depositors and keep anyone from cashing out of the exchange. And while the pump part of this isn’t scary from a HODLer’s perspective—it’s the dump that is.

In a Medium post, user Bitfinex’ed—who is dedicated to “exposing fraud by largest Bitcoin exchange, Bitfinex/Tether”—outlined a possible pump-and-dump scheme perpetrated by Tether and its partner Bitfinex, in an attempt to buy some time until the exchange can find a bank that’s willing to accommodate their transactions.

This is problematic. Last year, Bitfinex had a falling out with Wells Fargo, the last bank that was willing to process their transactions. And shortly after, they suffered the largest Bitcoin robbery since Mt Gox—in August 2016, the exchange lost 120,000 BTC to what it says was a hack. It didn’t help that their decision to “distribute the losses equally” amongst user accounts was met with controversy. Neither did the fact that they gave no clear explanation as to how exactly the hack happened, when the funds were in a multi-signature wallet and required two of three signatures. Although they were able to “pay off” users by offering them equity, the lack of transparency and refusal to submit to audit compliance did not sit well with the public.

The multi-million dollar hacks of both companies—which are said to be owned by the same people—have users doubting the credibility of their statements. Tether itself has also been shady, marketing their tokens as “money for the internet,” yet repeatedly stating in the less conspicuous legal section of their website that Tethers are not money and that they are under no obligation to exchange users’ Tethers with actual money.

To date, it’s still unclear which bank processes Bitfinex’s transactions—if there is even one. Since the Wells Fargo fallout, they haven’t been transparent about who they’re banking with. Their casual admission of creating shell companies to bank for them probably didn’t do them any favours either. Or maybe they do have a bank, but can’t admit it to the public because the bank they’re banking with unwittingly dealt with them through one of their shell companies.

Recent Tether hack stirs up rumors of BTC pump-and-dump conspiracy with Bitfinex

To circumvent the banking problem, user Bitfinex’ed says Bitfinex is likely employing Hawala banking.

“Bitfinex essentially match-makes you with someone wanting to withdraw from their exchange, and you send the money directly to the other party withdrawing.”

This doesn’t seem so bad at first glance. It’s either they facilitate trading as if they were just serving as a peer-to-peer online matching platform, or throw in the towel and close down—which they don’t seem to be keen on doing. But as Bitfinex’ed points out, this can end in tears.

“Well, there’s a problem. This requires a never ending stream of money coming into the exchange.

The minute the prices of Bitcoin turns bearish, and the prices continuously fall, eventually people will stop catching knives, money coming in comes to a trickle, and people are wanting to withdraw and nobody wants to deposit.

So, the only choice Bitfinex has, is to relentlessly manipulate the price of Bitcoin up for as long as possible so that people always want to deposit, until they are able to re-establish a legitimate banking partner.”

So then what happens when they finally establish a banking partner? They will no longer need to artificially inflate BTC prices. And there goes the dump.

The same would happen if they were to close down.

To be fair, if the BTC price were to crash, it wouldn’t exactly be a surprise. And it probably would take a lot more than one exchange pulling off some “cat-and-mouse tricks.” Whether this is true or not, BTC’s current value is, in fact, primarily backed by speculation. If we could set aside our inner blind fanatics and look at things objectively, perhaps we could really look out for when the bubble will burst. Any cryptocurrency’s price is never really the core value of a system. Such surges are the result of intrigue and likely, FOMO. But if we were to look ahead to five, ten, or more years from now, such value fluctuations would probably have died down, and the value stability will put an end to cryptocurrencies’ get-rich-quick investment appeal. Hopefully by then, we will all be utilizing cryptocurrencies for what they were really made for—transactions.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper. Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BSV is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

COMMENT

Bitfinex denies insolvency allegations – CRYPTOTIMES.MOBI

[…] several times. An August 2016 hack led to 120,000 BTC, worth about $70 million at the time, being stolen. Tether Limited has also been victim to a hack, with $31 million stolen from the Tether Treasury […]

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Bitfinex denies insolvency allegations | Bitcoin price media

[…] several times. An August 2016 hack led to 120,000 BTC, worth about $70 million at the time, being stolen. Tether Limited has also been victim to a hack, with $31 million stolen from the Tether Treasury […]

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Kraken slings back market manipulation claims on Bloomberg | Bitcoin price media

[…] with movements of Tether (USDT)—which itself has been embroiled in several rumours of pump-and-dump, manipulation, and banking issues. “Tether Defies Logic on Kraken’s Market, Raising Red […]

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Price manipulation campaign inflated BTC price in 2017, research finds | Bitcoin price media

[…] the time, some commentators pinpointed Bitfinex, one of the industry’s largest (and most secretive) exchanges, as being a potential source of […]

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Price manipulation campaign inflated BTC price in 2017, research finds – CRYPTOTIMES.MOBI

[…] the time, some commentators pinpointed Bitfinex, one of the industry’s largest (and most secretive) exchanges, as being a potential source of […]

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Unless Bitcoin fulfills its promises, it is a ponzi

[…] Some will argue that the rise in its trading value is a simple matter of supply and demand. Sure, that is true, but it’s only a partial truth and is merely scratching the surface. What we’re conveniently blinding ourselves from is the reason behind the seemingly unreasonable demand, especially given the fact that the cryptocurrency is hardly usable these days. Primarily, the reason behind such high demand for BTC these days is because of the potential for its value to fluctuate. But at this point, its price is so high for no legitimate reason other than, let’s face it, FOMO (apart from some pump-and-dump conspiracy theories). […]

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NiceHash freezes operations as $62 million worth of BTC is emptied from its wallet​

[…] inside jobs, or a possible mess up by the team causing the problem. Just last month, rumours of a conspiracy between Bitfinex and Tether surfaced after the latter was allegedly hacked. The lack of transparency and updates from the […]

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