Researchers from the Tel Aviv University and the American University of Tulsa confirmed information that at the infamous Mt Gox stock exchange fraud was conducted with the help of bots Willy and Markus.
The study "Price Manipulation in the Bitcoin Ecosystem" was published in the Journal of Monetary Economics. The authors of the work analyzed the impact on the bitcoin rate of suspicious activity on the Mt.Gox exchange, as a result of which the value of the crypto currency in just two months increased from $ 150 to $ 1000. Then, fraudulent transactions were made with 600,000 for a total of $ 188 million.
Bots Willy and Markus conducted externally real deals, but they didn't "own" bitcoins. Nevertheless, they influenced the price of the crypto currency, stimulating the growth of trading volume on other exchanges.
Even in case of detection and cancellation of fraudulent transactions, the average trading volume on the exchanges increased. Therefore, in days of increased activity of bots, the rate of bitcoin to the dollar increased by an average of 4%. At all other times he, on the contrary, showed a slight decrease.
Since the MtGox exchange charged commission from each transaction, the increase in the volume of trading was also profitable for it. In addition, the researchers indirectly link the Willy bot with the attempts of the owner of MtGox Mark Karpeles to hide the losses from the theft of 650,000 bitcoins.
Willy was first seen in September 2013 and operated until the end of January 2014, buying about 100 BTC per hour at intervals of 5-10 minutes. A month earlier, the bitcoin price reached its first loud maximum.