Like many of you, I'm sure, I have been watching the price of BTC very closely as it approaches the $10,000 milestone. It has been breathtakingly rapid. The price surge has been so sudden and steady that even with news of CME on the horizon, and even with all the new users from Thanksgiving conversation, I'm cautiously skeptical.
I've been watching the order book on GDAX, and I have seen something mildly concerning. Someone has been soft-pumping the coin with a facade of price-support. I first noticed three days ago, on the way from $8700 to $9000. During bull runs, a buy order for 100 BTC kept popping up just below market price. It would inch up as prices inched up, but then if they stalled a for a while, it would disappear for a few minutes, and then appear again. Sometimes, it would flash in and out every few seconds. Whenever prices started falling, it would vanish, and appear again after things had settled. This person clearly did not want their order filled, and yet they also wanted it on the books to look like price support.
It worked amazingly. I watched in disbelief as their efforts maintained a solid apparent buy wall, constantly putting upward pressure on prices. Yesterday, as we approached $10,000, he switched from 100 BTC orders to 250 BTC orders. I've seen him working over the past few hours, putting that wall of price support up strategically during rallies to accelerate them, and taking it down whenever it was at risk of getting filled.
I believe that somebody has been manipulating the price of Bitcoin to rise at an accelerated rate. Interestingly, this is not like a typical pump, because this person appears not to be doing any of the buying themselves (presumably, they already have a big position). They are making others more confident about buying, instead, or less confident about selling. For right now, I am very happy to see it happening, because I'm already all in on bitcoin. But, I'm wary for the end of the ride, and I think this manipulation is likely to make the crash harder when it comes.
Don't take my word for it -- go look for yourself during the next rally on GDAX. Keep your eyes open, everyone, and don't get lazy about stop-loss orders!