Did Coinbase manipulate the fees of Bitcoin?
Did Coinbase manipulate the fees of Bitcoin?
Bitcoin

Did Coinbase manipulate the fees of Bitcoin?

By Alfredo de Candia - 26 May 2020

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Recently, many users using the Bitcoin blockchain have noticed a significant increase in transaction fees, disproportionate to the price of BTC and, investigating the issue, some users have found that this phenomenon may have been caused by the Coinbase exchange, as shown by data shared by Bitrefill’s CEO, Sergej Kotliar, for example.

The analysis took into account more than 2 million addresses, although it is estimated that they could also be more than 4 million, and they all have a multisign configuration and P2SH or P2WPSH scripts. The operator performing these transactions has been given the name Crazy1or1.

Checking the number of UTXOs, it was discovered that these transactions generated more than 100 BTC of fees, for a value of more than $800,000.

The analysis of these transactions revealed some characteristics:

  • Since June 2019 this address has slowly and patiently accumulated a huge number of UTXOs;
  • It always has the same output, i.e. 1 outgoing output and 2 towards itself;
  • The use of an algorithm that consolidates the UTXO in a decreasing way.

Moreover, from the graph, it is evident that starting from the beginning of March, Crazy1o1 has continuously sent amounts directly to Coinbase, probably with a BOT specially programmed to carry out these transactions. 

All this started 10 days before the famous crypto crash in mid-March: we are talking about over 9 thousand transactions sent to Coinbase, for a total of over 1100 BTC. 

According to the hypothesis also supported by Kotliar, this mysterious subject used very high fees, thus also increasing the costs for all other users. 

For example, in the last 14 days, at least 720 thousand outputs have been generated, which is more than the entire BitMEX exchange carries out.

The nature of the relationship between Crazy1or1 and Coinbase is not fully known, except for the fact that the BTC transactions from one to the other are numerous and constant. 

At this point, the only thing to do is to wait for the fees to go down in order to be able to operate without spending too much for a simple transaction. This problem shows that perhaps BTC is not suitable as a payment method and is increasingly taking on the store of value function, inevitably making way for other cryptocurrencies.

Alfredo de Candia
Alfredo de Candia

Android developer for over 8 years with a dozen of developed apps, Alfredo at age 21 has climbed Mount Fuji following the saying: "He who climbs Mount Fuji once in his life is a wise man, who climbs him twice is a Crazy". Among his app we find a Japanese database, a spam and virus database, the most complete database on Anime and Manga series birthdays and a shitcoin database. Sunday Miner, Alfredo has a passion for crypto and is a fan of EOS.

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