NFT Insider Trading? Moonbirds Sales Spiked Before Yuga Deal Was Official

By Decrypt February 17, 2024 In NFTs, Trading

Prices and trading volume for Ethereum NFT collection Moonbirds rose sharply Friday afternoon, following the announcement that Bored Ape Yacht Club maker Yuga Labs had acquired the IP for the collection alongside creator Proof. But sizable spikes in the last couple days have fueled speculation of insider trading ahead of the reveal.

According to data from blockchain analytics platform CryptoSlam, daily sales volume for Moonbirds NFTs was under the $100,000 mark for each day this month through February 13, with only one exception—February 4 with about $141,000 worth.

But on February 14, daily Moonbirds sales volume spiked fivefold from the previous day to about $460,000, with almost four times as many transactions as before. And on February 15, sales volume remained elevated at about $333,000 worth. Today, then, sales surged following the afternoon announcement, with the daily tally currently at about $3.1 million and counting.

A look at the project’s price floor—or the price of the cheapest listed asset in the collection—shows a similar spike in the days ahead of the Friday announcement.

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Moonbirds. Image: Shutterstock
Moonbirds. Image: Shutterstock

The price sat at around $2,680 worth of ETH on Monday afternoon, per data from NFT Price Floor, and then started climbing before taking off on Wednesday to hit $5,000. The price started to creep down from there, but then spiked again on Friday after the announcement, briefly topping $6,000 worth of ETH. It’s down to about $5,170 as of this writing.

Rising asset prices following the deal announcement is no big surprise, but there’s no clear indication of what would fuel such a surge beforehand outside of trading on insider knowledge. And influencers, developers, and community members took to Crypto Twitter on Friday to call out the potential for insider trading.

Tweeting a sales/price chart for the week that demonstrates the unexplained Wednesday spike on Wednesday, pseudonymous blockchain developer cygaar wrote, “Moonbirds chart before the Yuga acquisition tweet. Nope, definitely no insider trading here.”

Another well-known pseudonymous crypto trader and influencer, Cirrus, joked that a wallet that purchased more than 150 NFTs from the Proof ecosystem over the last few days was “Nancy Pelosi’s wallet.” The U.S. Representative and former Speaker of the House has been accused of trading stocks based on insider knowledge.

“Sitting on a couple hundred thousand in profit after the Yuga news,” Cirrus wrote.

Decrypt reached out to Yuga Labs and Proof representatives regarding any known leaks ahead of the official announcement of the deal. A Proof representative told Decrypt that there was “no leak that we were aware of,” while Yuga Labs declined comment on the matter.

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