As Core Media recently reported, U.S.-based bitcoin exchange Coinbase added Bitcoin Cash to its platforms – Coinbase and GDAX – but soon had to pause the order books due to “significant volatility.” Bitcoin Cash’s value started surging hours before Coinbase made its move public, which hinted at potential insider trading.
Prominent Bitcoin Cash supporter and Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver then came out defending insider trading, claiming on CNBC that it is a “non-crime,” and adding that buyers need to be aware of the service they use so they don’t “depend on the government” to keep them safe.
On Coinbase, Bitcoin Cash’s price surged to $9,500 before trading was halted, but quickly fell back down to $3,000 once the service came back up. Roger Ver’s presence on CNBC, however, was notable as CNBC used the low-volume, glitchy surge on Coinbase to advertise the show through some highly unusual tweets.
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) December 20, 2017
The tweets were quickly criticized by the bitcoin community, which was told by CNBC’s Fast Money official twitter account, the same one that published the tweet above, to “deal with it,” amid threats to unfollow those that didn’t agree with its pro-BCH perspective.
Given the highly unusual nature of what was going on, users started investigating what was going on. Cryptocurrency commentator WhalePanda, among others, quickly found out that the executive director of the Bitcoin Cash fund, Paul Wasensteiner, was married to Gaby Wasensteiner, CNBC’s marketing manager, which thanks to her role in the organization has access over its Twitter accounts.
As such, WhalePanda concluded that Paul’s preferences, coupled with his wife’s access to CNBC’s Fast Money official twitter account, led to the unusual tweets:
Paul loves to talk about Bitcoin, BCash and cars. His wife works for CNBC and as marketing manager has control over certain Twitter accounts. So what happens when Someone who is executive director of the Bitcoin Cash fund, takes over control of @CNBCFastMoney twitter account? pic.twitter.com/XY8VQuQHfF
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) December 20, 2017
The conflict of interest was then further exposed, as Reddit users noted that Paul Wasensteiner is also the founder of a London Bitcoin Cash meetup, The seemingly organized attempt to advertise Bitcoin Cash to make it surge doesn’t seem to be working out so far, as the cryptocurrency is down 47% in the last 24-hour period, presumably because Coinbase users who had Bitcoin on their accounts on August 1 can now access their Bitcoin Cash, and may be selling it for other cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is down 5.7% in the last 24-hour period and is currently trading at $15,430 according to data from Cryptocompare.