Bitcoin (BTC) value rocketed to almost $6,800 on Wednesday morning, 9 AM GMT+8 22 August 2018. The spike was nearly $300 or equivalent with a sharp 5% increase, then fluctuated slightly until 11 PM GMT+8, before bounced back to $6,425.

Figure 1: Bitcoin Price Spike 22 August 2018 00:22:21 to 23 August 2018 00:22:13

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Data Source: Coingecko

Although the move gave a positive impact to some of the bitcoin enthusiasts, experts firmly believed that the surge, which occurred at the same period during BitMEX’s scheduled maintenance, was not natural; but rather forced, as the event happened on a low-trading volume time.

Bitcoin enthusiasts indicated that BitMEX manipulated the spike. @CamelBus_ stated that “The moment @BitMEXdotcom went offline,” followed by a screen capture of the price surge. Meanwhile, @GrayL1917 said, “Why did it moon right after maintenance? Something buggy??”

On the other hand, Alex Krüger, an economist, stated that it was more likely a conspiracy done by a large-scale of traders to manipulate the price of bitcoin and correlated the inorganic movement with the BitMEX downtime to make it seem legitimate[1]. “The $BTC lightning +7% breakout during Bitmex’s downtime shows why odds of SEC approving the CBOE bitcoin ETF proposal should be close to zero. Even if no manipulation (that’s debatable) this stresses the importance of Bitmex, a fully unregulated market with 40% market share.”

Few seconds before this, BitMEX encountered a pause for two hours due to its scheduled maintenance, which was announced to investors on 19 August 2018 on their official blog. “On Wednesday, August 22 at 01:00 UTC, BitMEX will be performing maintenance to improve engine performance. This will require migrating the physical machine that trading operations execute upon, which will require temporarily taking down trading. Trading will suspend at 01:00 UTC and the site will enter maintenance mode shortly thereafter. We expect this maintenance to take 30 minutes and will update our users via Twitter throughout[2].” They also disclosed the downtime to the public via Twitter, as well as the completion of the maintenance on 21 August 2018.

BitMEX Rented Pricey Office on The Same Day After The Surge

A few hours after the spike, an article from The Hong Kong Economic Times was published, saying that BitMEX rented 45th floor of the Cheung Kong Center, the most expensive office building in the world. “BitMEX leased the 45th floor of the Cheung Kong Center, the home to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Barclays Plc, Bank of America Corp., the securities regulator, Bloomberg LP and billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s empire[3]”. The prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform took nearly 20,000 square feet, with worth almost US$600,000/month[4].

The Seychelles based company is one of the world’s most liquid cryptocurrency exchanges by volume with 40% market share over the most liquid trading pair, BTC/USD. Founded by Arthur Hayes, an ex-Citibank trader, BitMEX has successfully crossed $3.3 billion daily as per today, 25 August. With such a bona fide profile on handling billions of dollars worth of contracts daily, leasing an expensive space in a prestigious business center of Hong Kong is very comprehensible.

Figure 2: BitMEX Profile on CoinMarketCap1-C8lj4I1NUMQ8Xo_l0IiJCQ

Data Source: Coinmarketcap

People Still Trust BitMEX After The Surprise

Even though there’s a speculation of a conspiracy behind the occurrence, yet people are still very confident towards BitMEX. According to Sentiment Viz, the sentiment over ‘BitMEX’ keyword as per today, 25 August, is nearly 100% positive.

Figure 4: Sentiment Visualization of ‘BitMEX’ keyword.

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Data Source: Sentiment Viz

[1] Young, J. 2018. BitMEX Downtime Crypto Pump: Manipulation in the Bitcoin Market? [https://www.ccn.com/bitmex-downtime-crypto-pump-manipulation-in-the-bitcoin-market/]. Accessed August 25, 2018.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Baird, K. 2018. BitMEX Moving in to The World’s Most Expensive Offices in Hong Kong. [https://bitcoinist.com/bitmex-moving-in-to-the-worlds-most-expensive-offices/]. Accessed August 25, 2018.

[4] Liu, P. 2018. US$600,000 monthly office rent at Cheung Kong Center is a breeze for digital currency exchange BitMEX. [https://www.scmp.com/business/article/2160878/us600000-monthly-office-rent-breeze-digital-currency-exchange]. Accessed August, 25 2018.

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