Speculation is heating up among crypto traders that Kraken’s Bitcoin flash crash last week was the work of a hacker’s clever manipulation.
For about five minutes on Friday, the price of Bitcoin plummeted from $11,250 CAD to a low of $101.20, a drop of more than 99%, allowing traders to pick up BTC on the cheap – at prices not seen since July of 2013.
Crypto traders on Reddit say Kraken’s order book shows that someone or a rogue trading bot sold 1,155 BTC (roughly $10 million USD) for $101 CAD each. Some on Reddit initially speculated that the order was a mistake. Others, however, now speculate that the book tells a different story.
1. Hacker get access to compromised account w/ 1200BTC but can't withdraw
2. Hacker puts his own limit $100 buy orders on illiquid pair BTC/CAD
3. Back to compromised account he dumps the 1200BTC on BTC/CAD to himself
— Beetcoin [LNP/BP] (@Beetcoin) June 2, 2019
On Twitter, crypto traders are theorizing that a hacker may have found a way to access a whale’s Kraken account containing 1,200-1,500 BTC. From a different account, the hacker could then place Bitcoin bids priced at $101 CAD and sell off the hacked haul until the orders reached that level, leaving them open to purchase 1,155 BTC at a 99% discount.
The maneuver would be easier to pull off on the BTC-CAD trading pair, which had thin order books compared to currencies like the US dollar.
So far, Kraken has not released a statement to acknowledge or explain what happened.