A purchase made Wednesday the equivalent of $1.6 billion in Bitcoin may have come out of China.
According to Coindesk, a buyer or group of buyers purchased $1.6 billion worth of bitcoin in a matter of minutes on centralized exchanges, driving the price of the cryptocurrency up 5 percent.
According to Yahoo Finance, three exchanges with ties to China – Binance, Huobi, and ByBit – saw a spike in trade volume between 13:11 and 13:16 UTC on Wednesday.
Although the exchanges may have ties to China, pinpointing where the transaction occurred can be pretty tricky, especially for cryptocurrency.
According to a tweet on Thursday from Ki Young Ju, CEO of data provider CryptoQuant, "whales bought up $BTC in the perpetual futures markets yesterday mostly at @binance, @HuobiGlobal and @Bybit_Official. Basis ratio says it was futures-driven, and they punted long positions as open interest skyrocketed at that time. These guys know something."
Ki went on to hypothesize that United States-based traders could be taking such extreme positions, based on the speculation of a possible crypto regulated market headed by the SEC, to "avoid blame" for insider trading.
"If this move was the ETF front-running from U.S. whales, they are likely to use non-US exchanges to avoid blame for insider trading IMO," Ki tweeted.
However, as CoinDesk markets managing editor Lawrence Lewitinn alludes, the culprit of the big crypto buy seems likely to have come out of China after real estate developer Fantasia, based in China, missed a bond payment of $206 million.
"That led to the company getting downgraded by ratings agency Fitch. The situation isn't just limited to one company as Standard & Poor's downgraded fellow Chinese developer Sinic," he wrote.
"This is a roundabout way of saying there's some serious contagion going on in the Chinese real estate market," Lewitinn adds.
Roughly one-third of China's economic activity is related to the real estate sector, according to CoinDesk.
What's more indicative that purchase may have come out of China is that the transaction was conducted using a form of cryptocurrency known as stablecoin, more specifically USDT, a form of cryptocurrency backed by the U.S. dollar, and issued by Tether.
Last week Bloomberg issued a cover story titled, "Anyone Seen Tether's Billions?"
The story's author Zeke Faux said he had obtained a document showing a detailed account of Tether Holdings' reserves.
"It said they include billions of dollars of short-term loans to large Chinese companies – something money-market funds avoid. And that was before one of the country's largest property developers, China Evergrande Group, started to collapse."
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