DappRadar in a recent report posed the question “Are LooksRare rewards attracting Whales?”
The new LooksRare Marketplace, which opened for business on the 10th of January has seen an inordinate number of high-priced transactions. Is this caused by ‘Whales’ manipulating the prices? This is what the report set out to answer.
What is a ‘Whale’ account in NFTs?
Firstly, we need to divine what a ‘Whale” account actually means. In terms of NFTs, a ‘Whale’ is a person or group that holds a considerable amount of a certain NFT collection. According to DappRadar “Whale movement is a simple signal that can have a huge effect on the price of a cryptocurrency depending on the size, magnitude, source, and destination of the transaction.”
LooksRare has turned many a head since launching and has blown the opposition out of the water. The marketplace, with a 2% trading fee, saw 153% more trading volume than OpenSea. Another, statistic worth noting is the average transaction on LooksRare was ‘$201,000 compared to the $950 observed on OpenSea during the same timespan’. Furthermore, rewards worth more than $100 million dollars in the form of their native token, LOOK have been handed out.
Well, the conclusion seems to be that certain accounts are making these transactions to generate LOOK rewards. These large monetary movements are usually associated with ‘Whale” activity
So, how has this come about?
Well, the conclusion seems to be that certain accounts are making these transactions to generate LOOK rewards. These . However, the top Whale wallets of the most traded collections on LooksRare were not involved.
DappRadar looked at the following when researching the report.
These are the native token to the platform. They are given out as rewards to the community for transactions within the platform and as an incentive to trade. The rewards offer holders a tasty passive income. These include “high staking, auto-compounding yields that surpass 500% APY at writing”. Moreover, those that stake on the platform gets a share of the 2% trading fees.
Reasons for average sale prices at over $200,000 on LooksRare
The high prices are caused by accounts wash trading, which is market tampering. In the NFT sphere, this translates to people buying and selling the same item via different addresses. In turn, this causes specious market data. Now, add that to the LOOKS rewards set up above, and you can see why certain addresses use this washing method to optimize profits.
As DappRadar delved further into their analysis they found that 3 NFT collections, Meebits, Loot and CryptoPunks showed evidence of manipulation. Proof of this can be seen by the fact that 99% of the top 100 NFT sales recently, occurred on LooksRare and included those collections. They further pointed out as proof of the fact, that on LooksRare the average price for a Meebits was 233 ETH, compared to 4.69 ETH on OpenSea.
Are LOOK rewards attracting Whales?
So far, DappRadar has pointed to 2 reasons for the huge discrepancies in prices between the NFT marketplaces. But are actual Whale wallets involved in this market manipulation? Well, the DappRadar report has concluded, no. They again studied all the trades that involved Whale wallets and found that even though Meebits and Terraforms were the most traded, “the wallets of the top 10 holders (whales) of both projects were not found in the sample. These 20 wallets have not been involved in a single trade on LooksRare as of January 17.”
Additionally, concerning other top volume collections including Loot and CryptoPunks, they found some Whale wallet transactions. Though, none of this amounted to wash trading.
All in all, the report concluded that the LOOK rewards created a scenario that enticed certain wallets to make wash trades, not as nefarious manipulation of the market, rather, it was for the express reason of gathering LOOK rewards. The DappRadar report expects these wash trades to slow down as LOOK rewards decrease.
Finally, they could find no evidence of Whale Wallet manoeuvring on the LooksRare marketplace.