Bitcoin jumps 20% on 'mystery buyer'

April 03, 2019 09:44
Crypto market watchers believe a buyer algorithmically-managed a large Bitcoin order across three venues on Tuesday. Photo: Bloomberg

Bitcoin soared to its highest level in almost five months on Tuesday, pulling smaller cryptocurrencies up with it, after a major order by an anonymous buyer set off a frenzy of computer-driven trading, Reuters reports.

The virtual currency surged as much as 20 percent in Asian trading, breaking US$5,000 for the first time since mid-November.

The gain was probably triggered by an order worth about US$100 million spread across US-based exchanges Coinbase and Kraken and Luxembourg’s Bitstamp, Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, chief executive of cryptocurrency firm BCB Group, told Reuters.

“There has been a single order that has been algorithmically-managed across these three venues, of around 20,000 BTC,” he said.

“If you look at the volumes on each of those three exchanges – there were in-concert, synchronized, units of volume of around 7,000 BTC in an hour”.

Still, analysts could not point to any specific developments that could explain the mystery buyer’s big order.

Cryptocurrency markets had until today seen a period of relative calm through the year, with bitcoin trading around US$3,300 and US$4,200, Reuters noted.

Big orders tend to spark buying by algorithmic traders, said Charlie Hayter, founder of industry website CryptoCompare.

As bitcoin surged, 6 million trades occurred in an hour, with orders concentrated on Asian-based exchanges, Hayter said.

Bitcoin’s surge sent smaller cryptocurrencies higher. Ethereum’s ether and Ripple’s XRP, respectively the second- and third-largest coins, both jumped by more than 10 percent.

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