One of the biggest problems with cryptocurrencies is the fact that they can easily be manipulated by people who have a large amount of holding. These people often referred to as 'whales' have a lot of controlling power in the markets. The best example of this manipulation can be seen in a series of recent events where it has come to light that just one man was primarily responsible for crashing Bitcoin prices from $16,000 to $6,000.
This man was Nobuaki Kobayashi - a Japanese attorney who is the bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox. Kobayashi has now revealed that he has sold off $400 Million Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash since the September of 2017, most of his major sell-offs coming in late December.
Kobayashi holds about $2.3 Billion worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash tokens, out of which he has sold off $400 Million. He still holds another $1.9 Billion worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which he intends to liquidate to pay off the creditors of Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange who are still waiting for their money, four years since the exchange declared bankruptcy and shut down.
Reportedly, Kobayashi has sold off 6,000 Bitcoins when the price was around $16,000 on the 22nd of December. This massive sell-off led to the price crashing down (momentarily) to $10,800. Following that, Kobayashi again sold off 8,000 Bitcoins on the 17th of January, which brought the markets into a 'bloodbath' phase. Kobayashi then proceeded to sell off 6,000 more Bitcoins on the 31st of January. His final sell came on the 6th of February when prices were struggling around the $6,000 mark.
While it makes sense for Kobayashi to sell when markets were peaking, it was rather strange for him to sell off on the 31st of January and 6th of February, when the markets were struggling and were on a 'free-fall'. This leads to the suspicion that Kobayashi may have been attempting to manipulate the prices. Out of the $400 Million worth of cryptocurrencies he has sold off, Kobayashi has sold off $360 Million worth of Bitcoins and $40 Million worth of Bitcoin Cash.
The Mt. Gox hack took place in February 2014 and the company declared bankruptcy on the 28th of February. It was the biggest known cryptocurrency hack of all times as hackers managed to steal over 850,000 Bitcoins from the exchange, evaluated at $50 Million in 2014 at the time of the hack. However, since then, Mt. Gox was able to recover about 200,000 Bitcoins but the rest were deemed to be lost.
The cash generated by Kobayashi's Bitcoin offloads is to be used to pay off creditors who had lost their money in dealings with Mt. Gox. All the creditors will now be paid off with the money that Kobayashi generates with his sell-offs. This differentiates Kobayashi from typical Bitcoin whales, who sell off to make profits for themselves.
The most alarming thing about the whole Kobayashi incident is the understanding that just one man could possibly be responsible for bringing the entire market to its knees. A crash from $16,000 to $6,000 is a significant one. And what should be really startling is the fact that he is just getting started. Kobayashi still holds $1.9 Billion worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash - selling off which could result in a major crash. The Bitcoin prices are now completely on Kobayashi's mercy.