Could Bitcoin's price rise from $100 to $1000 be the work of ONE mysterious person?

In a paper published by Science Direct, researchers Neil Gandal, JT Hamrick, Tyler Moore, and Tali Oberman outline their belief that the USD/BTC exchange rate rose from $150 to $1000 - though the actions of a single person over a 60 day period.

The abstract summary of their finding reads:

"To its proponents, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin offers the potential to disrupt payment systems and traditional currencies. It has also been subject to security breaches and wild price fluctuations. This paper identifies and analyzes the impact of suspicious trading activity on the Mt. Gox Bitcoin currency exchange, in which approximately 600,000 bitcoins (BTC) valued at $188 million were fraudulently acquired. During both periods, the USD-BTC exchange rate rose by an average of four percent on days when suspicious trades took place, compared to a slight decline on days without suspicious activity. Based on rigorous analysis with extensive robustness checks, the paper demonstrates that the suspicious trading activity likely caused the unprecedented spike in the USD-BTC exchange rate in late 2013, when the rate jumped from around $150 to more than $1,000 in two months."

They claim two trading bots did the footwork, named in their paper "Markus" and "Willey" - making fake trades and driving up the price, all while the owner of Mt.Gox was covering up that they had been hacked (That story here) making concealment of their activity especially easy.

You can read their full research paper here.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk