Bitcoin Futures: A Way to Control Cryptocurrency Markets?

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Can Wall Street investors manipulate the cryptocurrency markets via Bitcoin futures? Based on the recent fall in the markets during the week of January 15th, it seems that “yes” is the answer to that question.

During the market slump last week, there was some banter on Reddit that the crash was going to end Wednesday, January 17 at 4:00 PM EST when the markets closed the first Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE expired at $10,900 per Bitcoin. There was even a countdown posted by one Reddit user. While the price of Bitcoin did not rocket back up in the immediate aftermath, altcoins started to rebound hours after the futures contracts expired.

Futures Strategy

Many institutional investors are wise to use the futures contracts to lower the Bitcoin price to buy in lower by setting the stop-loss triggers at support levels to push down the price further and further to make it look like a crash. This scares novice investors to support the bears and sell to avoid a total loss. By taking this strategy, the Wall Street investors are strategically pushing down the price for in order to re-enter at much lower levels and potentially set Bitcoin up for another rocket rise to unprecedented highs. Then, assumingly, collect profits and repeat the cycle, increasing profits each time Bitcoin rises and falls.

United: We All Fall and Rise Together

Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market seems to rise and fall simultaneously with the altcoins. Is a systemic issue that causes this harmonious rise and fall of prices on the exchanges? The answer is a little fuzzy, but there are several factors at play. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as the universal trading currency, which leads to many investors buying and selling Bitcoin to buy and sell altcoins. When bitcoin starts a bull run, many of the altcoins fall, as investors jump on the Bitcoin train and vice versa. It’s also systemic because most exchanges require Bitcoin rather than fiat currency to transact. It is easy to invest fiat currency in the market and then leave there as an investor trades it; moving it from one currency to another and not cashing it back to fiat currency. Furthermore, When the Bitcoin price falls or rises against the fiat currency, all the altcoins will usually follow. This is because all altcoin prices are based on their Bitcoin exchange rate, not their fiat currency exchange rate. The value of an altcoin in fiat currency is the value of the altcoin in Bitcoin and then Bitcoin’s value in that fiat currency. It is Bitcoin that strongly affects pricing.

With much of the market tied into Bitcoin, it makes it easy for the Bitcoin Futures contracts to manipulate the entire cryptocurrency market because it is not just the value of the altcoins is the value of the altcoins in relation to the value of bitcoin.

The next litmus test is coming this Friday, January 26th when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures contracts on Bitcoin are set to expire. Given that the cryptocurrency market is recovering, it is likely that the contracts could continue the bull run or not.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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