While many exchanges have recently started to delist privacy coins, OKEx’s Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) markets remain active with abnormal trading patterns. XMR’s time of trade distribution on OKEx noticeably falls out of the common flow of activity observed on Binance and Huobi.
SENSO token demonstrates suspiciously high and stable trade volume on Bittrex, KuCoin, and Poloniex. This observed activity is consistent with the ways in which exchanges produce fake volume.
Spot market trades on Gate.io show signs of falsified numbers. Below are the distributions of leading, second, and third digits for the size of executed trades as compared to Benford’s law expected distributions. Evidence based on Benford’s law has been used by ACFE to discern naturally occurring statistical deviations from fraud.
Our investigation team constantly monitors abnormal activity happening on multiple market venues. The bar chart below highlights the anomalous bitcoin volumes traded on FTX in periods of low volatility. Of note are the readily identifiable peaks of 1 min trading volume that don’t significantly affect the price itself (the difference between open and close price).
One of the market manipulation metrics we pay attention to is the time of the trade distribution. Both Huobi and OKEx show abnormal distributions for second-of-the-trade and minute-of-the-trade graphs.
In the past 3 months, the price of Bitcoin has almost doubled from around $10,500 in October to $24,000 in the middle of December. This was a volatile journey with daily price swings reaching 17.6%. Some of the biggest price changes coincided with troubling news around custodians, ranging from withdrawal suspensions to exploited security vulnerabilities. Interestingly, the market had plenty of warning signs well before the volatility spikes, but very few acted upon them. Let’s have a look at how…