Crypto Collapse Accelerates As Bitcoin Miners Turn Cash Flow Negative

Another day, another leg lower in cryptocurrencies as FUD spreads, this time on the back of headlines exposing market manipulation during last year's meltup and collapsing margins for miners as prices tumble below breakevens.

It's been one hell of a week for cryptos...

After the Coinrail hack prompted scaredy-cat South Koreans to dump their crypto, Bitcoin and Ethereum both broke critical technical support levels (BTC $7,000 and 2018 lows; ETH 50DMA & $600 figure).

Bitcoin lowest close since Nov 2017...

 

Ethereum broke $600, $500, and its 100DMA...

 

Things were 'calm' on Monday but then came headlines that, according to research by a University of Texas professor - known for flagging suspicious activity in the VIX benchmark - Tether, one of the most-traded cryptocurrencies, shows a pattern of being spent on Bitcoin at pivotal moments, helping to drive the world’s first digital asset to a record price in December.

“Tether seems to be used both to stabilize and manipulate Bitcoin prices,” finance professor John Griffin and co-author Amin Shams wrote in a paper released Wednesday.

Bloomberg reports that questions about Tether and Bitfinex have dogged the cryptocurrency world since last year when Bitfinex lost banking relationships yet continued to operate. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission subpoenaed both firms in December, seeking proof that Tether is backed by a reserve of U.S. dollars, as it claims. Tether and Bitfinex haven’t been accused of wrongdoing.

“Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation,” Bitfinex Chief Executive Officer JL van der Velde said in an emailed statement. “Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of Bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex.”

The analysis showed a pattern of Bitcoin price support, Griffin said. First, Tethers are created by the parent company Tether Ltd., often in large chunks such as 200 million. Almost all new coins then move to Bitfinex, he said. When Bitcoin prices drop soon after the issuance, Tethers at Bitfinex and other exchanges are used to buy Bitcoin “in a coordinated way that drives the price,” Griffin said in an interview.

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