Crypto investors riding high on Bitcoin’s rise above US$8000 this week were in for a rude awakening as a single sell order sent prices plummeting nearly 13%.
The transaction, which took place on May 17th at 2:00 UTC, sent Bitcoin prices tumbling from $7785 to $6775 in just under an hour.
Speaking with Yahoo! Finance, eToro trading analyst Simon Peters explains, “Bitcoin’s blip appears to have been caused by a significant sell order placed on the Bitstamp exchange early this morning, which triggered selling across other exchanges.”
Bitstamp confirmed the transaction in a series of tweets, noting that it was launching an immediate investigation into the matter.
1/2: A large sell order was executed on our BTC/USD pair today, strongly impacting the order book. Our system behaved as designed, processing and fulfilling the client’s order as it was received.
— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) May 17, 2019
2/2: We closely examine every event that causes large-scale movement in our order book and have started an immediate case investigation.
— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) May 17, 2019
Placed by an anonymous Bitcoin ‘whale’, it is estimated that the sell order was for around 5,000 bitcoins which, at the time of the sale, would have been worth approximately $38.6 million.
It is unknown at this time whether the sale was a deliberate dump or a case of ‘fat finger’ user error on the part of the seller.
Bitcoin appears to have regained some lost ground since the drop and is currently trading at around
Not buying the whale tale
While much of the crypto community is abuzz over the transaction, not everyone is laying the blame at the Bitcoin whale’s feet.
In the wake of Bitcoin’s run-up over the past month and a half, which saw prices more than double, analysts have been predicting that a pullback was coming and is necessary in order for the cryptocurrency to resume its climb.
I’ve been talking about 30% pullback even while breaking through $8k, because I want people to be prepared!
I truly believe this is the last time to accumulate at these prices before #BTC takes off
— Crypto Capital Venture ⚡ (@cryptorecruitr) May 17, 2019
Expected pullback. This is very positive for the uptrend continuation. Market will #HODL strong with a slow shift to $alts. We should start to see a big move across where $BTC will loose some dominance at any point. The next wave will be a blasting #parabolic move! 👩🚀🚀🌚🔥
— Whales NEWS (@bitcoin_whales) May 17, 2019
Peter’s fellow analyst at eToro, Mati Greenspan, seems to concur.
“The level of the pullback, as of this writing, is actually picture perfect. So far, the top cryptoassets have come down about 10 [percent] from their recent highs.
“If it does stop soon, turn around, and break significantly above the recent highs, there is virtually no major resistance on the chart until $20,000,” he writes.
Some, however, attribute Bitcoin’s rise and subsequent crash to market manipulation.
Prominent economist and trader Alex Krüger tweeted that he believes both the spike and crash were “deliberately engineered.”
We can now put aside that nonsensical narrative of bitcoin as a hedge for US-China trade wars. The move up was engineered by a handful of parties, and so was this crash. Not as sexy, I know.
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) May 17, 2019
As Bitcoin goes, so goes the market
Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency to have plummeted overnight as all but seven of CoinMarketCap’s Top 100 Cryptocurrencies are in the red with many posting double-digit losses over the past 24 hours.
During that same one-hour window (02:00 – 0:300 UTC) several of the Top 20 altcoins saw prices drop by an average of 8.5%:
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH): 393.03 to 360.47 (-8.28%)
- Ripple (XRP): 0.407805 to 0.380216 (-6.76)
- Ethereum (ETH): 255.38 to 236.05 (-7.56)
- Litecoin (LTC): 93.72 to 87.48 (-6.65)
- Binance Coin (BNB): 25.92 to 23.50 (-9.33)
- TRON (TRX): 0.028089 to 0.025368 (-9.68)
- Bitcoin SV (BSV): 62.43 to 55.67 (-10.82)
- Stellar (XLM): 0.132337 to 0.122028 (-7.78)
- Cardano (ADA): 0.085657 to 0.077379 (-9.66)
Thus far, market recovery appears sluggish as many cryptocurrencies continue to decline.
At publication, the total cryptocurrency market cap currently sits at $222.61 billion – down nearly 15% from its YTD high on Wednesday of $263.82 billion.