Recap of allegations of market manipulation
According to Griffin and Shams’ findings, an unknown party using Tether’s stablecoin USDT and sister exchange Bitfinex allegedly manipulated the market into the bull run at the end of 2017 that saw Bitcoin reach all-time-high prices of over $20,000 before suffering a sudden crash that led to the onset of crypto winter.
As the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, the paper strongly implies that the single large whale in question was Bitfinex itself. “If it’s not Bitfinex,” Griffin told the journal, “it’s somebody they do business with very frequently.”
In April, the New York Attorney General filed a suit against the two companies that alleged that Tether — which claims to back its tokens 1-to-1 with the United States dollar to acheive stability in value — had illicitly covered Bitfinex’s loss of $850 million using funds from Tether’s token-backing reserves.