Bitcoin has been prone to manipulation in the past. Professor of finance John Griffin at the University of Texas recently published a whole report suggesting that Tether users were responsible for the abnormal spikes in the bitcoin price during 2017, and now it appears that manipulation is occurring again in a different form.
Manipulation May Be at the Helm
New evidence has emerged supporting the idea that bitcoin hasn’t been rising naturally since the currency first entered its present bull phase in April of 2019. While the currency initially peaked in July and shot up over $13,000, it has since fallen back down and is trading at around $10,862 at press time. This is still a solid price compared to where bitcoin was at this time last year; in addition, it seems to be on a solid run when compared to how it was doing just two weeks ago, and that could be the problem.
Everyone knows that Google searches surrounding bitcoin and the currency itself are tied together. When people are interested in BTC and perform cryptocurrency-related searches on the internet, the currency’s price tends to move up. When people show a lack of interest, the price will fall.
It’s being suggested that someone is manipulating bitcoin internet searches as a means of pushing the price forward. According to researchers at the crypto news and analysis site Kryptografen, the widespread internet searches for “BTC” this week are higher than any week in 2017, when bitcoin first experienced its record-breaking bull run that first brought it to nearly $20,000 per unit.
Norheim Schei, an analyst at the site, believes that the trouble may have originated in Romania, commenting:
It is reasonable to assume that someone is behind these radical changes. That the same pattern can be seen all over the world may indicate that VPN services have been used to distribute the search across the world, thus achieving a global trend. Google Trends points that that changes have been relatively large in Romania. Is this the source, or is it just because there have been fewer searches for BTC previously? Whatever the answer is, something very strange has happened to the interest in the keyword ‘BTC’ this past week.
Who’s Playing with the Algorithms?
Many analysts agree with this sentiment, including Glen Goodman, who wrote the bitcoin investment book “The Crypto Trader.” In a recent interview, he states:
Somebody’s trying to game the trading algorithms. There are algorithms programmed to look at Google Trends data and try to find correlation between numbers of searches for the word ‘BTC’ and the movements in the bitcoin price. If they detect patterns, it may be profitable to trade off that data. This hacker may be buying some BTC, then sending a ton of ‘BTC’ search queries to Google.