All you need to know about Crypto Whales and why you should pay attention 

Temitope Akintade
Crypto Whales

For those not too conversant with technical terms in the crypto space, whales in this context do not refer to the big fishes in the Atlantic Ocean.

While the meaning of Crypto Whales seems to tow that line, it has far more reaching relevance than that. 

Think about the crypto market as the Atlantic Ocean. Small aquatic creatures like Sardines and Scalefin inhabit the ocean, and larger species like Whale sharks, Tiger sharks, and Ocean Sunfish inhabit the same waters.

The crypto industry has a plethora of participants. The ‘small aquatic creatures’ are the retail holders and traders, while the ‘larger species’ refers to the large, influential market movers holding many digital assets. 

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Interestingly, many crypto enthusiasts do not understand how significant moves by these larger species are in the industry. In this week’s explainer, we will examine what crypto whales are, how you can identify their moves and why you should pay attention. 

Who are Crypto Whales?

Crypto whale is a metaphorical expression for individuals or organisations that hold enormous quantities of cryptocurrency or have the funds to make astronomical purchases. To be classified as a crypto whale, you need to hold at least 10% of the circulating supply of a given cryptocurrency.

For Bitcoin, you need to hold at least 1,000 Bitcoins, which is the equivalent of about $17 million at press time

Crypto Whales

Some of the biggest crypto whales people follow include CEOs, owners and founders of various crypto projects/businesses. Well-known whales are Pantera Capital, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance (recall how the market went berserk last when he announced plans to sell off $FTT), Michael Saylor (CEO of MicroStrategy), Brian Armstrong (founder of Coinbase), the Winklevoss Twins, Justin Sun (owner of Tron blockchain) and a few others.

Sam Bankman-Fried(SBF) of the defunct FTX exchange used to be on the list but not since the devastating collapse of his empire last week. Another popular but anonymous whale is Satoshi Nakamoto, the brain behind blockchain technology, who is said to have mined over a million Bitcoins. 

Whales have always had a tremendous impact on the market. Although some whales and their movements have been identified and are in the open, most whales make clandestine operations. 

How crypto whales affect the market 

If whales buy large amounts of particular crypto, its price is bound to increase. On the flip side, if they dump a token in large quantities, it will lead to a drop in its prices. This is because when a whale buys in bulk, it creates scarcity, triggering a price rally. But when such investors dump tokens into the market, supply increases dramatically, causing a price plunge. 

Interestingly, several traders and investors tend to copy whale movements because when they buy/sell, the rest of the market usually follows suit. In 2019, the price of Bitcoin jumped from around $4,200 in April to around $11,500 by the end of June. The surge seemed like a natural breakout, but it was later discovered that a purchase of 20,000 BTC executed across three different exchanges led to the spike.

Why you should pay attention to crypto whales 

Watching the buying and selling habits of a coin’s largest investors can give insight into where the market may be headed. Crypto Whales may be founders or early investors in a crypto project and may have insider knowledge of the future of a project. So, paying close attention to the acquisition or selling of tokens over time can give a hint of their confidence in a project. 

Crypto Whales

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Several tools are available to monitor crypto whales, and the most popular is Whale Alert. The community help has a Twitter account and a Telegram channel that provides real-time alerts on whale movements. This service tracks millions of transactions on the blockchain and sends out real-time alerts to show large movements of cryptocurrency and where it is going. You can make quick moves based on the data provided. 

Additionally, you can check the top crypto holders for various coins on BitInfoCharts.


Crypto whales are an interesting phenomenon unique to the cryptocurrency world. If you are an investor in crypto, it is good to know who the large holders are and to keep tabs on their actions. This insight can help you with your trading plan and possibly keep you out of liquidation. 

However, whale watching might not matter much if you are a long-term crypto investor. With proper research and analysis, if you are confident in the long-term viability of a particular project, whale movements might be insignificant. 

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