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The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, may have played a part in Ethereum’s crash in May 2021, which led to a decline in its price from $4,400 to $1,800. According to the data obtained from the blockchain, on May 15, Vitalik moved a whopping 330,000 Ether from his famous wallet address.
According to press reports, this address had earlier crashed Ethereum’s price in March 2016, May 2017, June to July 2017, and January 2018. May 2021 can now be included in the tally as well because that billion-dollar movement correlated with a decline in the price of Ethereum.
Last year the price of Ethereum was constant at a level of nearly $4,000. Three days before, Tesla declared that they were no longer accepting bitcoin on May 12, just a few months after they were already accepting bitcoin. This cause is a result of environmental concerns, but it may be because there’s no one paying with bitcoin the way Tesla wanted. After all, fiat is easy to discard.
Regardless, the price dropped to $3,500, then recovered to $4,000, at which point Buterin shifted his massive stockpile for some reason. Around the same time, he sent many transactions to Uniswap, selling 10,000 ETH, which might be worth $37 million depending on how effectively he handled slippage.
Traders are likely to have seen all of these activities, and as a result, we see a capitulation of sorts, with bears drooling over Buterin’s efforts. Buterin, on the other hand, was likely forced to shift the billion-dollar stockpile to a different address, which still has 320,000 ETH.
So he only sold a small amount, but the timing couldn’t have been worse, given the market’s unease following Tesla’s announcement. Furthermore, no one would have realized what Buterin was plotting in its midst. We now know what he did, but all we knew was that he shifted all of his funds and sent some to Uniswap.
He may have had to transfer everything after he touched the private keys, but he has previously sold from that address without doing so, adding to the confusion at the time. All of this for merely $30 million, when he could have collateralized it so that no one wouldn’t call him if the eth price rose to $100.
You’d think he’d have plenty of fiat revenue, including many credit lines because of his eth assets, with all these millions he’s drawn down over the years and the tens of thousands of eth he’s spread in various locations. He could have done it without influencing the market if he had wanted to protect fiat rather than hundreds of billions in paper value.
However, he stated that the eth price was too high, so perhaps he decided to play trader instead as if he didn’t have enough. But, the price recovered and rose even further, as it has done every time Buterin has sold, albeit after a brief period of chaos.
Whenever Vitalik sells, he doesn’t have enough eth to influence the market, and this is good to know. For now, Vitalik must do well to regulate the market’s expectations whenever he chooses to fiat to prevent triggering short-term tops. For the time being, he must do a far better job of managing market expectations when he wants to fiat to avoid triggering short-term tops.