Trust No Token? Tierion (TNT) Cements 193% Growth Built on Very Shady Binance Volume


Tierion (TNT) recorded 193% over the previous two days en route to a 10-month high extending back to July 2018.

The project traces its roots all the way back to 2015, when the team came out winners at the Consensus Hackathon of that year. By 2017 they had wrapped up a $25 million ICO, and were claiming imminent partnerships with Microsoft.

When I say this recent pump comes as a surprise, that’s not a judgement on the quality of the Tierion project. Rather, it’s because from seemingly nowhere TNT is now being traded at the second highest volume in the token’s history, and mostly from one questionable exchange.

Tierion Price – TNT/USD

From Tuesday’s low of $0.019012 the value of one TNT token had shot up to $0.055719 by Wednesday night. At time of writing momentum had cooled, sending the price back to around $0.04.

Unlike the price, the volume continued to rise into Thursday, with $64 million worth of TNT changing hands according to CoinMarketCap.

Doing our usual comparison with OpenMarketCap – the exchange that tracks volume from ‘trusted’ exchanges – we see near total agreement. So… does that mean Tierion’s volume is real?

Not unless this $17 million capped token really did change hands so many times to produce a $64 million trade volume.

More likely, Tierion has been benefitting from the Binance treatment. Like many other Binance-listed tokens, Tierion’s daily volume numbers are far above what would reasonably be expected from a token of its size.

Binance: A History of Mindless Pumps

I draw on data from OpenMarketCap here to make a point. Out of all the major ‘trusted’ exchanges from which this website pulls data, Binance is the only one to pull off these shenanigans.

This has resulted in the following rankings, as seen below. Two Binance-based tokens – Matic Network and Binance Coin – are among the top five traded cryptos in the entire world.

Matic has a market cap of $60 million, yet has almost $400 million worth of trades? A few days ago, at the height of its recent pump, Matic volume reached $700 million. Yet just over 500 addresses are listed on Etherscan. (Tierion, for comparison, has 24,000).

Well-known cryptocurrency enthusiast and author, Andreas Antonopoulos, has stated many times that he bases his own crypto investments on which coins have the most trade volume (read: utility at this early stage). Are we to assume then that Andreas has been stocking up on some MATIC tokens lately? This seems unlikely.

Moving down the list we see a Binance token represented again in the form of BitTorrent Token (BTT) – a coin not without its controversies in other areas. Read: Former BitTorrent Chief: TRON Can’t Handle BTT Token; Compares Justin Sun to Trump.

And among the next five most traded assets we see another two Binance-based tokens. Fetch was birthed on Binance Launchpad, and has already benefited from the same volume pumps that have suddenly befallen Tierion.

So What Does This All Mean?

It means there’s a stray bull in the park, and someone’s about to get taken for a ride. When BitWise offered up ten trusted exchanges to the SEC during their Bitcoin ETF application, they were supposed to be free from this kind of manipulation.

The situation is made worse by the fact that this is occurring on the biggest, most popular cryptocurrency exchange in town. Worse yet – no one seems to be talking about any of it. News sites continue to write about the latest pump by Matic, Celer or Cosmos as though they hold any weight whatsoever.

On top of this, the utility of data aggregation tools like OpenMarketCap becomes essentially null and void if one of their supposedly trusted platforms can just subvert the rules whenever they like.

In their ongoing review of BitWise’s application for a Bitcoin ETF, do the SEC keep an eye of those ten pillars of trust in the cryptocurrency exchange space? If so, that might explain why they still haven’t given the green light.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Charts via CoinMarketCap.

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.