No, it has nothing to do with manipulation at all.
What we have seen in 2017 and 2018 was a bubble caused by massive speculation.
However, crypto markets are manipulated constantly. It's one of the most manipulated markets because there are no regulations and supervision. As a market participant, you can do whatever you want. But cryptocurrency markets are not manipulated to such big extend that it is the sole reason of the whole bull and bear market. Because no single market participant has such power.
Small altcoins with low trading volumes can be easy manipulated but the big crypto currencies can't. There is simply to much money involved.
I think manipulation triggers such downfalls and I also have a reason for that. Financial institutions are not yet fully into crypto and they're not stupid either to buy Bitcoin at 20k and XRP at $3,60 thus they have triggered multiple FUD waves throughout the year making people believe that cryptocurrencies will actually be worthless in a few months or years and dumping them on the market at cheap prices.
Now the important question is "who is buying such cryptos at cheap prices?", who is there with "the mouth open" to eat all that plankton. Big players. People and institutions with a lot of money that are buying cheap to sell again high next year when probably the market will explode again. They say that financial institutions are not into crypto but who knows who are the ones buying over the counter. Who knows who is buying through third parties cheap Bitcoin and altcoins. Manipulation is everywhere. In politics, in finance, in wars, in media. Everywhere. Why wouldn't be in crypto also if there is such a great opportunity to make money out of it and gain it as a future standard as wealth.
I don't consider that it's 100% manipulation across the board but I believe it is the important factor of constant crashes in prices. In order to make money you have to buy low and sell high and if financial institutions haven't caught the crypto train last year they are pulling it back in the train station to board in. They do that because they can and they have the tools: money, skills and media control. That's how I see it.
No, I don't think so. Though cryptocurrency market is constantly manipulated by several factors but the effects are always temporary.
This particular dip is the longest I've seen so far. Since 2018, it's been like forever. This is not just as a result of some manipulation, it's beyond that.
If the drop in market prices of cryptocurrencies lasted for a while I would've said that some manipulation and other factors set in. But this is something else.
I don't think there is any "whales" in cryptocurrency market. The current bearish market is mainly due to sentiments.