Bitfinex stated in a tweet on 31st August that its platform had been experiencing connectivity issues. To deal with these, Bitfinex had to suspend trading temporarily. While maintenance and temporary shutdowns are not a rare event in this industry, speculators pointed out how Bitfinex trading suspension coincided with CME futures expiration.
“The platform is encountering connectivity issues with one of the servers. As a precaution, we had to suspend trading temporarily. We are working hard to have the platform return to normal operations as soon as possible,” tweeted Bitfinex.
Bitfinex identifies itself as ‘the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform,’ and hosts spot trading, leveraged margin trading, as well as returns up to 3.3x leverage. Additionally, it is among the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges as per data available on Coinmarketcap. Several users of the trading platform have tweeted that ‘temporary shutdowns’ of these major exchanges are ways to manipulate the crypto market.
Price analysts had been talking about the crypto market witnessing some volatility around 31st August, given that this was the day for CME futures contracts to expire. The first future trade for these contracts opened at $7,111 on 29th May 2018. The entire crypto community had been waiting eagerly to see if BTC price would be able to rise beyond the opening price of CME futures, and as it turns out, it hit near the opening value.
Before the Bitfinex shutdown, Bitcoin was trading at around $6,900, which is significantly lower than CME futures opening price. However, at the time of closing, Bitcoin’s price had experienced a surge to about $7,100 after a slump on the previous two days. As a sarcastic remark on the ‘temporary shut down,’ a user tweeted-
“The small pump occurring at that same time is purely coincidental. We apologise for the short liquidations.”
This is not the first time when maintenance issues have been used to mask price pumps. Earlier this month, Coinedict reported how Bitcoin prices spiked by $300 when Bitmex was taken down for maintenance.