A recent study has proposed that Tether, the US dollar-pegged cryptocurrency, was ”explicitly responsible” for the highs in Bitcoin price during December of 2017. The report goes on to suggest that the cryptocurrency’s rise to nearly $20,000 was in fact supported by a ”conscious strategy to provide price support” using Tether tokens.
Tether is a stablecoin token, which can essentially be described as a cross between fiat currencies and a ”true” cryptocurrency, as it is pegged to the value of one US dollar. Tether is nonetheless attractive to investors, as it is a cryptocurrency that is comparatively easy to trade and sell, the price is stable, and there are no transaction fees for moving the tokens between different Tether wallets.
Nonetheless, the study comes from two professors at the University of Texas, John Griffin and Amin Shams, and specifically examines the Tether stablecoin’s relation to that of Bitcoin during late 2017. The two researchers employed algorithms in order to analyze and interpret blockchain data, which they found revealed a correlation between the timing of Tether purchases following market downturns and significant increases in the price of Bitcoin.
Moreover, the study goes on to outline that this conclusion provides a ”clear link between the printing of new Tether tokens and Bitcoin’s price increases following bear runs”. The researchers were also supposedly able to determine that actors associated with the Bitfinex exchange used Tether to buy Bitcoin as prices began falling, effectively preventing the nominal price decrease of the cryptocurrency from truly showing.
If the findings of this study are indeed accurate, it would mean that Tether was used to ”prop up” the price of Bitcoin during late last year. Griffin and Shams also claim that they were able to discover that the amount of Tether used in order to keep Bitcoin’s price high artificially was minuscule, and that ”even less than 1 percent of extreme exchange of Tether for Bitcoin has substantial price effects”.
The algorithms used by the researchers also allowed them to understand and map how Tether was distributed. The study outlines that Tether was created, and subsequently moved to Bitfinex – from where it then slowly made its way to other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Bittrex and Poloniex.
This study is likely to become subject for discussion, and may very well be grist to the mill of those already questioning the supposedly opaque nature of cryptocurrencies. This study also comes as Tether passed both Dash and Monero to become the world’s twelfth largest cryptocurrency (according to market capitalization) earlier this week.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.