Picasso trading bot manipulates BTC price on major exchanges

Bitcoin analyst has published a report describing Picasso trading bot which he suspects in manipulating Bitcoin prices on Coinbase, GDAX, and Bitfinex exchanges
25 December 2017   1566

On December 24, Bitcoin analyst under the nickname Bitfinex'ed has published a report in his blog on Medium, in which he described a bot named Picasso, who could be manipulating Bitcoin prices on the exchanges. The analyst was monitoring Coinbase, GDAX and Bitfinex since noticing suspicious activity back in May, and was recording GDAX activity along with Bitfinex for the past several months.

Bitfinex'ed states that Picasso could have evolved from Spoofy, a previously identified trade bot. But Picasso is using a different strategy, called "painting the tape", which is an age old tactic by traders to artificially manipulate prices.

Bitcoin analyst has published a video, showing activity from GDAX and Bitfinex from December 7 of 2017. As it can be seen on the video, Coinbase prices for Bitcoin went several thousands of dollars up compared to the rest of the market, and Bitfinex'ed claims that the volume and price volatility is not from organic demand, but from a trading bot that hit an empty orderbook.

The volume on Bitfinex plummets to practically zero when Coinbase went down, indicating this bot is ‘replaying’ or doing arbitrage for transactions from Coinbase, on Bitfinex. Someone buys Bitcoin from Picasso on GDAX, Picasso then buys it back, at a massive discount on Bitfinex. No GDAX volume = No Bitfinex volume.

Bitfinex'ed statement

Moreover, Bitfinex’ed noticed that the activity of Picasso was mostly high when Bitcoin Cash was introduced as the bot drove the price of Bitcoin Cash to 200+% higher than the rest of the market within several minutes, due to the order books being practically empty.

At the moment of press, these are main market parameters of Bitcoin:

  • Average price: $13 867,90
  • Marketcap: $232 457 900 170
  • 24h volume: $10 630 400 000

US Authorities to Sell $4.3M Worth Seized BTC

As reported, the Bitcoins were seized during different federal investigations
18 October 2018   90

The US Federal Penitentiary and Marshals Service has announced an auction, during which 660 Bitcoins will be sold, previously confiscated by law enforcement agencies. The current market value of the coins put up for sale is about $ 4.3 million, CoinDesk reports.

Bitcoins offered for sale were seized during federal criminal, civil and administrative investigations.

The auction will be held on November 5, and to participate in it, you must register no later than October 31 and make a deposit of $ 200,000.

The trades will be divided into two parts and include the sale of six blocks of 100 BTC and one more block of 60 BTC. Auction participants will not be able to view other people's rates or change their own.

The Office clarified that part of the assets put up for auction includes Bitcoins, which were seized during the recent investigations into the cases of the traders Teresa Tetley and Thomas Mario Costanzo. Teresa Tetley was sentenced in July to a year in prison on charges of trading in cryptocurrency without the necessary license and laundering money obtained from drug trafficking.

The Marshals do not report which part of the bitcoins seized from Tetley and Costanzo is put up for auction, however, it was previously known that 40 BTC were withdrawn from the first, and 80 BTC from the second.

Two previous major auctions for the sale of confiscated bitcoins were held in the United States in January and March of this year. In the first case, 3813 BTC was sold, in the second - 2170 BTC.