Crypto Trading Investigation: A Deeper Look at Chainlink (LINK)

Executive Summary

This analysis was conducted by the AnChain team between July 8–15, 2019 and is now being made available to the public. The purpose of this analysis is to review the trading activity around LINK and highlight our ability to produce actionable indicators and insight on the flow and price fluctuations of various tokens.

Disclaimer

While AnChain continuously strives to ensure the accuracy of the information used in our reports, we will not be held responsible for any missing or inaccurate information. AnChain provides all information as is.

Chainlink (LINK)

contract: 0x514986ca ; address affiliated with token’s contract

Transaction Analysis

We have performed our analysis using transaction data collected between April 1, 2019 and July 15, 2019 on the LINK token.

LINK Price Action; CoinMarketCap
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Figure 3 — Dated histogram of total successful unique transactions.
Figure 4 — Dated histogram of total failed transactions.
Figure 5 — Dated histogram of successful transaction volume.
Figure 6 — Dated histogram of failed transaction volume.

What is Pump and Dump?

Pump and dump is a form of microcap fraud in which the price of an asset, often of low market cap and share volume, is manipulated by a group of coordinated actors through a series of high-volume purchases.

Masking Techniques: Exploiting the ‘Coinbase Effect’

While it is tempting to immediately attribute such price action to natural market forces, such as positive press and the oft-discussed ‘Coinbase Effect’, the on-chain data reveals coordinated activity that significantly pre-dates the associated press release. The evidence may even suggest the exploitation of the ‘Coinbase Effect’ and media hype as a masking and concealment agent for underlying manipulation. A timeline containing key transactional landmarks alongside the LINK token’s price action can be found in Figure 7 below.

Figure 7
Figure 8Graphistry;Transaction Map for June 26–30th
Figure 9Graphistry; Group 101, Group 102, jump addresses, and the Binance exchange.

Address Analysis and Exchange Distribution

A total of 30,054 different addresses successfully initiated transfers.

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Transaction Flow Analysis: Mechanism of Action

Starting on June 28, 2019 the token’s market price begins to rise quite dramatically.

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Figure 17 Graphistry; Group 201, a holding wallet, and jumps to Binance

Implications

It is likely that sophisticated price manipulations of this nature are not unusual in the cryptocurrency ecosystem at large. This manipulation in particular, however, demonstrates that even highly-reputable projects are vulnerable to coordinated tampering due to the inherently low market cap of all but the largest cryptocurrencies.

  1. The executing party has sufficient ability, resources, and capital to source enough mined ETH to purchase 11 million LINK.
  2. The executing party operates primarily through the Binance exchange.

Conclusion

The inherent immutability of the blockchain allows for deep analysis of marketplace activity and network interaction. Utilizing our analytics capabilities and proprietary platform, we are able to construct a directory of key addresses, affiliations, and transaction pathways in order to create a clear picture of the many moving pieces behind various token price movements.

About AnChain.AI

A blockchain data analytics firm providing intelligence, indicators, and investigative resources for clients to enhance their security, risk, and compliance strategies.

Blockchain data analytics firm providing security, risk, and compliance solutions.