MYSTERY SPIKE: Why did this token jump 335%?

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Token price surges 335% overnight - but only on one exchange

Crypto traders are breathing a small sigh of relief as much of last week’s bleed-out appears to be in the process of reversing itself. One token, in particular, saw its price more than quadruple in the past 24 hours – albeit only on one exchange.

Last week was a rough one in the crypto space. The price of Bitcoin tumbled below US$8,000 [AU$11,650] – again – and its market cap fell by more than 5.5 percent.

Altcoins were feeling the pain, too, as more than half of the top 25 cryptocurrencies reported average 7-day losses of just under 5 percent.

A new week has dawned, however, bringing with it recovering prices.

Bitcoin is currently trading at $8,230 – a gain of 0.27 percent over the past 24 hours – and Bitcoin SV is up a whopping 18.08 percent, trading at just over $112.

Leaving major cryptos’ percentage gains in the dust

As impressive as BSV’s gain is, however, it is left in the dust by an unassuming cryptocurrency whose price jumped by more than 335 percent in the past 24 hours.

Currently ranked #298 on CoinMarketCap, Proton Token (PTT) prices have more than quadrupled, climbing from $0.000280 to $0.001308 between 8:14 pm EST Sunday and 8:14 pm EST Monday.

Proton Token (PTT) price chart - CoinMarketCap
Proton Token (PTT) price chart – CoinMarketCap

Don’t go getting too excited about Proton’s gains just yet, however. Of its total $1,568,023 trading volume, more than 93 percent of it came from just one exchange – Singapore-based MXC Exchange.

What is Proton Token (PTT) anyway?

First announced in February 2018, Proton Token is the native token of the Proton Network, a public blockchain geared toward the digital marketing industry.

According to its one-pager:

“Proton is a public chain that is dedicated to data fusion and collaboration. It builds the fundamental infrastructure for data security and high-efficiency data collaboration processing across various data sources, unleashing the real potential of big data and artificial intelligence applications [for] different industries.

“[By] freeing the data from silos, [businesses] from a single online shop to IoT industry giants can break through [the] bottleneck of lacking valid data samples and insufficient recognition of data via ‘Proton Inside.'”

On June 7, 2018, Proton launched what would turn out to be a three-day token sale across five platforms – BJT, Lbank, Leekico, Icoshop, and Xbrick.

Despite the announcement of a number of partnerships and conference appearances, developer activity on the project seems to have dwindled.

Proton’s Github hasn’t been updated in over a year, social media activity has slowed, and activity in its English-language Telegram channel is mostly comprised of admin posts with very little user interaction.

So why the huge price increase?

That is a very good question. It certainly doesn’t make sense given the lack of activity on the project – although to be fair, members of the Proton team did attend the Shanghai roadshow last month.

Most people I chatted with on Telegram attributed the spike to either a pump and dump or fake trade volumes – after all, if it was legitimate market activity, wouldn’t all of the exchanges listing PTT have experienced some semblance of a price jump?

Either theory is possible, however, there could be another reason.

In August of this year, CoinTiger, one of the exchanges listing Proton Token, was hacked, resulting in the theft of the exchange’s cold wallet containing roughly 401 million PTT worth more than $1.4 million at the time of the hack.

Following the hack, the Proton team instituted a 600,000,000 PTT buyback initiative in an effort to shore up the token’s price and “recover investors confidence.”

On September 9th, Proton repurchased 152,289,215 PTT tokens and on September 27th they repurchased 199,993,000 additional tokens.

The exchange that the purchased them from? MCX Exchange – the same exchange experiencing the surge in PTT price and volume.

Given that no tokens have yet been repurchased in October and Proton has not yet reached its 600 million buyback limit, I think that it is possible that someone – either a trader with a bot or the exchange itself – is driving up the price in anticipation of this month’s buyback.

Got any other theories about the price surge? Let us know on Twitter at @MICKYNewsOz