A recent study done shows that Bitcoin price drops and Volatility is not caused by Bitcoin whales because hardly any of them engage in heavy coordinated selling and trading. In fact, most of the top wallets do not sell out but instead buy in when the price is low so they are not at fault for the massive sell-offs. There is a group of whales that are active traders and they control around 330,000 BTC or about $2 billion. The analysis of the trading activities of these whales has shown that they usually trade against the grain and do not coordinate any massive sell-offs.
So, if its not the whales, what is manipulating the markets? I think there are two culprits to this, the futures markets, especially at places like Bitmex and the institutional investors with the OTC trades.
Spot futures markets like Bitmex allow big players to short-sell BTC without actually owning BTC and allow them to do it in large amounts. Many of the big price downturns happen around the time that shorts increase on the market and the most recent downturn from 6550 to around 6150 was probably led by places like Bitmex. You can see that out of all the places that have the USD/BTC pair, Bitmex is still the lowest and is significantly lower than other places like Binance. The difference is almost $100, which is a significant percentage. This likely means that futures traders at Bitmex are still trying to depress the price while buying pressure from regular buyers at Binance are acting against that. Its a classic case in crypto currency ever since the introduction of futures markets last December of large short-sellers manipulating the market downwards. Its no coincidence that the Crypto Market has gone downwards ever since the futures market was introduced last year.
The second reason are the large institutional buyers like hedge funds who are buying large amounts over the counter(OTC). These large increases in demand do not go over exchanges and therefore does not effect price which makes it cheaper for these buyers to acquire large amounts of Bitcoin through traditional brokerages. Since it takes relatively small amounts of Bitcoin to drop the market price by 4 or 5%, they then can sell a small amount of the coins they acquired to drop the market some and then go via private brokerages again to buy in at a lower price. There is a limit on how much they can drop the price as at a certain point(probably close to $6000) the buying pressure is too high for the coin to go any lower. However, when these institutional investors are done accumulating, they will slowly bring the price up to increase the value of their assets.
These two reasons are the reasons I think that the cryptocurrency market has been so depressed lately.