Approximately 18,000 Bitcoins (BTC) were recently transferred to a wallet believed to be linked to BitMEX, a large cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform. The total value of these coins is currently over $114 million, according to data from CryptoCompare.
— KKTHXBYE (@kkkthxbye) August 14, 2018
Seventeen different crypto wallets were involved in this large BTC transfer, with the first transaction taking place at 4:50 AM New York time. While only 10 BTC were moved to the BitMEX-associated wallet in the first transaction, 16 other crypto wallets transferred a total of 17,990 BTC to BitMEX’s wallet in less than half an hour after the first BTC transfer.
Market Manipulation, Massive Selloff?
Soon after the large transfer of coins to the wallet known to belong to BitMEX, a number of Twitter users speculated that the crypto trading platform may be involved in market manipulation. Notably, the massive consolidation of bitcoins to BitMEX’s wallet occurred just a few hours before the flagship cryptocurrency’s price recovered from its drop below $6,000.
Although many crypto exchanges have been accused of attempting to manipulate market prices, in this case it seems quite unlikely because the 18,000 BTC consolidated to BitMEX’s wallet accounts for only 0.1% of all bitcoins currently in circulation.
Oftentimes, however, crypto “whales”, such as the Mt Gox trustee, are known to consolidate a very large number of coins to a crypto address right before selling them. As Crypto Globe reported in March, Mt Gox trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi had sold $400 million worth of BTC, which many believed had a significant impact on crypto market prices.
Also, in late April, Kobayashi consolidated 16,000 BTC and 16,000 BCH to one of his crypto accounts. These massive transfers usually cause a lot of anxiety among crypto investors, as they suspect that it could potentially lead to a huge selloff.
Securing The Coins In Cold Storage, Providing More Liquidity?
In BitMEX’s case, the exchange might be trying to shift large amounts of coins to cold storage wallets, in order to keep them safe. Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, which lost $30 million due to a hack in June, was recently reported to have been doing something similar.
Presumably to avoid further losses from the hack, Bithumb had been consolidating a huge number of coins from thousands of wallets to a single address. Due to the extremely high number of transactions, which also had exorbitant transaction fees, the Bitcoin network became congested temporarily.
Another possible reason why BitMEX may be moving such an enormous amount of coins is that it might be trying to increase the liquidity on its exchange. Notably, the Hong Kong-based peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platform traded a record 1 million in BTC during a 24-hour period – an amount totaling $8 billion on July 25th.