We’re not just a couple of weeks into 2023 and crypto prices are spiking. Seeing number go up might entice you to throw some money into Bitcoin or Ethereum. After all, maybe this is the beginning of another crypto bull market? You wouldn’t want to miss out!
Well, just wait a minute. Consider this first: Why are crypto prices suddenly rising?
There are plenty of analysts out there trying to make logical sense of the recent bump in cryptocurrencies value – inflation is slowing, belief that the Federal Reserve is done with hiking interest rate hiking, bullish news on crypto – but no, that’s not really it.
There’s been no big positive news in the industry. There aren’t reports of some new, mainstream avenues of adoption. Sure, the stock market is up a bit right now in the new year, but not at the same level cryptocurrency is.
So, what’s going on here? Market manipulation.
Bitcoin is riding high, but isn’t heading to the moon anytime soon
Bitcoin is hovering over $21,000 as of mid-January, a price that has not been seen since early November 2022. That was before the collapse of FTX, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. Crypto took a pounding in 2022, as major stablecoins, lenders, and other crypto companies failed, causing domino effects throughout the industry.
However, things are not looking up. Even though one of the most tumultuous years for crypto is behind us, 2023 thus far has not treated crypto much better with the failure of Gemini Earn and crypto lender Nexo’s offices being raided over allegations of illegal activity. There’s no good news on the horizon. In addition, the majority of retail inventors now view cryptocurrency as too risky, so who’s buying?
As longtime cryptocurrency writer and critic David Gerard explains: The big players in the industry are “buying” in order to control the market.
“The bitcoin price is whatever the large players need it to be,” writes Gerard. “The market is very thin and trivially manipulable with the billions of pseudo-dollars in unbacked stablecoins on the unregulated offshore exchanges. The price needs to be high enough so the big boys’ loans don’t get liquidated; but it needs to be low enough so that the bagholders don’t attempt to cash out.”
John Reed Stark, a former SEC official, concurred with Gerard’s assessment.
“A recent Forbes analysis of 157 crypto exchanges found that 51 percent of daily bitcoin trading volume being reported was likely bogus,” tweeted Stark, referring to a Forbes report from last summer.
Who is doing the buying? It’s not clear
A more recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “wash trades accounted for up to 70 percent of all transactions on non-compliant crypto exchanges, suggesting most trades on these platforms are fraudulent.”
Wash trading is basically when an investor trades with itself in order to make it look like there is activity in the market in order to boost value. Basically, it’s market manipulation.
So when you hear investment advice from people like Anthony Scaramucci, the guy who worked as communication director for Trump’s White House for about 10 days in 2017, proceed with caution. Scaramucci now heads up an investment firm called SkyBridge Capital and recently told CNBC that 2023 will be a “recovery year” for Bitcoin, with prices skyrocketing backup to new highs in two or three years.
It’s important to note that 30 percent of SkyBridge Capital was bought out by FTX about two months before the exchange collapsed. The firm made significant crypto investments with the tens of millions from that deal, right before crypto tanked even further. Scaramucci recently said that he’s hoping that SkyBridge can buy back the stake it sold to FTX. So, it’s not too shocking for Scaramucci to be putting “good vibes” out there for crypto so the firm can make a return on their investments.
It’s just yet another way the big crypto companies and investment funds manipulate the market.