Bitcoin took a nosedive Wednesday, slashing more than $1,000 off its price tag in less than 24-hours. Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin got hit just as hard, with each losing 20%+ this week.

Chart from the Voyager app.

The crash followed Bakkt’s long-awaited launch of physically-settled Bitcoin futures trading. With just 28 contracts traded at the end of day one, some blamed Bakkt's underwhelming performance for Bitcoin's sell-off.

Experts are also pointing fingers at CME’s Bitcoin futures contracts. New research has highlighted a “striking systematic trend” between Bitcoin price movements and CME futures expiration dates.

According to Arcane Crypto, Bitcoin’s price falls on average 2% ahead of CME futures settling, and the price has dropped 15 out of 20 times.

Image courtesy of Arcane Crypto.

Coincidence? Arcane Crypto’s Bendik Norheim Schei says it's statistically unlikely. “With approximately the same number of positive and negative days over the period, there is less than 2% probability of observing 15 (or more) days of price drops out of 20 possible,” wrote Schei.

Bakkt vs. CME

Different than Bakkt’s physically-settled Bitcoin contracts, CME contracts are settled in cash, making them more susceptible to manipulation. Schei suggests Wall Street is hedging their risks by taking a long position on “physical” Bitcoin in the spot market and a short position on Bitcoin futures contracts. This way, traders secure their investment against price fluctuation.

While the research found no evidence of “deliberate manipulation,” some are hoping Bakkt’s launch will decrease the influence of CME contracts on the market.


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