Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that the next big crypto scandal will be the discovery and removal of “wash trading,” meaning that more than half of crypto transactions are illegal.
- Cryptocurrency investors are entering this year hoping for a better year than the previous one, which saw multiple scandals, collapses, crashes, and the overall decline of crypto and NFT markets.
- But investors may not yet be out of the woods. Popular investor Mark Cuban tells The Street that the proliferation of “wash trading,” a form of illegal market manipulation, is making it a matter of time before the next major scandal rocks cryptocurrency.
- “I think the next possible implosion is the discovery and removal of wash trades on central exchanges. There are supposedly tens of millions of dollars in trades and liquidity for tokens that have very little utilization. I don’t see how they can be that liquid,” says Cuban.
- An August 2022 Forbes analysis found that “more than half of all reported trading volume is likely to be fake or non-economic.”
Why It’s Important
The past year has seen numerous significant collapses in the crypto market, including FTX, Terra, Luna, Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital, Celsius, and BlockFi—and investors could be staring down yet another implosion.
Mark Cuban is a longtime investor in cryptocurrency, and while he doesn’t have solid proof for his claim, he does speculate that this could be the next bomb to go off and damage the market.
“Wash trading is an illegal activity that involves a single person buying and selling the same asset to manipulate the market. In doing so, the owner of an asset can pump up its trading volume and mislead potential investors. It was originally used with the stock market but can also be used to manipulate other markets, like cryptocurrency,” The Ascent defines.
Backing Up A Bit
As we previously reported, crypto has seen a small bump since the beginning of the year. Bitcoin is up 27% from where it was a month ago and has comfortably sat above $22,000 in valuation since January 20.
The entire market continues to face scandal though, with Sam Bankman-Fried awaiting a fraud trial later this year, the Mango Market cryptocurrency exchange is feeling the ramifications of a market manipulation scandal in October, NFT markets are beginning to curb user rights, and billionaire investor Peter Thiel was discovered to have pulled away from crypto in March 2022.
The overall market is in decline, and it is expected that the federal government will crack down on crypto markets this year with new legislation.