Bitcoin Whales

Updated by Robin Storm verified symbol on July 12, 2022

If you've been following the cryptocurrency market for some time, you've probably heard of crypto whales or Bitcoin whales. In this article, we'll explain what Bitcoin whales are and how they affect the prices of BTC and other cryptocurrencies with their actions. After learning more about them, you'll have a better insight into the crypto industry and learn to understand the impact certain people can have on it. 

What Is a Crypto Whale?

A "cryptocurrency whale" (or just a "crypto whale") is a term used in the community to refer to individuals or groups of people with a massive amount of crypto, mainly Bitcoin. Since whales hold a large portion of a limited asset, they can potentially manipulate the market to an extent.

There's no consensus on how much crypto makes someone a whale, but it is mostly believed that anyone with more than 10% of a particular cryptocurrency can be considered a whale. For Bitcoin, this number can be even lower due to the sheer number of coins and their price.

The term "whale" is used figuratively and draws a parallel between crypto whales and actual whales. Like the big sea mammals that can easily disrupt flora and fauna around them whenever they move due to their size, Bitcoin whales disrupt the market whenever they move.

Top 5 Bitcoin Whales in 2022

The following people have been identified as Bitcoin whales, meaning they are known to own a lot of BTC in their wallets. Moreover, they are all influential individuals whose moves are closely monitored by the community. Please remember that this is a current list and that it may change in the future if other Bitcoin whales emerge. Moreover, cryptocurrencies are volatile, so the numbers stated below may have changed by the time you're done with this text.

Barry Silbert

Barry Silbert is known as the CEO of Digital Currency Group. His estimated worth is around $3 billion, and most of it comes from cryptocurrencies. He is widely considered a Bitcoin whale. Barry acquired plenty of BTC in 2012 when this crypto was still inexpensive and grew into a BTC billionaire.

Michael Saylor

Michael Saylor is the CEO of a tech company called MicroStrategy. He bought Bitcoin when it was below $10,000. To be precise, he acquired 17,732 BTC, which are still in his possession. Saylor's company is considered to be one of the largest BTC holders in the world, with more than 129,000 BTC.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are twin brothers who invested in Bitcoin and are now considered one of the leading investors in BTC. Before they became billionaires, they were part of the US Olympic team, where they competed as rowers. Once they obtained BTC, they even started their exchange called Gemini (Latin for twins), which is currently one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the world. It's estimated they own around 70,000 BTC at the moment.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is currently the wealthiest person on the planet, and he also happens to be a Bitcoin whale. His company, Tesla, owns around 42,000 Bitcoin. Musk is the most influential figure in business nowadays. Every one of his tweets can make waves in the crypto world, meaning he doesn't even have to buy or sell BTC to affect the volatile cryptocurrency market.

Michael Novogratz

Michael Novogratz is a billionaire hedge fund manager and former partner at Fortress Investment Group. He also founded Galaxy Digital Capital Management LP, a $400 million crypto investment firm that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Novogratz reportedly owned 9.9% of all Bitcoins in 2019, which made him one of the leading owners in the world at that time. Although he is currently probably not as influential, he still claims that 85% of his wealth consists of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Whales' Influence on BTC Price

Bitcoin whales have a lot of BTC in their Bitcoin wallets. The thing with wallet addresses is that they are transparent, and the community already recognizes some of them as influential. Whenever a large order takes place, and the whale buys or sells BTC, it causes volatility. This turn of events will also result in many followers doing the same, thus increasing or decreasing the price of Bitcoin. Of course, such practices also exist for altcoins, which can be affected even more than BTC since some whales own more than 10% of certain altcoins.

So, how do whales manipulate the market? Let's say an investor has 100,000 BTC and decides to sell half of it. This will cause a dip in BTC, and many other investors will follow suit. The whale will then buy back the 50,000 BTC at a lower price than the one they used for selling, thus creating a profit.

Bitcoin Whales and their Influence on the BTC price

Why Do Investors Keep an Eye on Bitcoin Whales?

You might be wondering why investors keep an eye on the activities of Bitcoin whales and how they can tell when these whales are active.

The answer is simple. Whales play a key role in the price movements of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. For example, in December 2017, several major players sold large amounts of BTC at once, and this move pushed prices down to around $17K per coin from the previous record high of almost $20K.

Bitcoin whales have an enormous influence on the market since they hold vast sums of money. As a result, they can influence the whole ecosystem if necessary. They can also buy and sell at will without any restrictions because there's no specific regulation for crypto trading yet (although some countries are working on it).

Tracking Bitcoin Whales' Transactions

To track Bitcoin whales, you need to be able to follow their transactions. You can do this by looking at the public blockchain. All transactions you see on the blockchain are visible to everyone, so you can track them as they happen if you have access to a computer and an internet connection.

You can also use specialized software like Blockchair or Blockchain.com, which will allow you to see more than just basic transactions even without direct access to the blockchain itself. Mind you, though — these services do generally require some level of registration.

Effects of Bitcoin Whales on Bitcoin Circulation

It's believed that whales can drive up volatility and cause wild swings in value if they wish to do so. In fact, some speculate that a few people actually control half or more of all existing bitcoins because they purchased them early on and never sold them (or perhaps even lost access to them).

All in all, if whales join forces, they can cause huge market manipulations. However, that's also a bad thing, as people would then lose interest in BTC, ultimately leading to Bitcoin's downfall. If you think about it, the whales might be better off causing minor fluctuations in BTC price for profit. However, if they make too big of an impact, they may end up destroying Bitcoin's reputation, thus harming themselves in the process.

Bitcoin Whales and the Future of Cryptocurrency

After learning about Bitcoin whales and their impact on the cryptocurrency industry, you may have a newfound appreciation for these powerful players. However, seeing that they can affect the value of Bitcoin in ways that could ripple through the financial world, you might even feel intimidated by their power. 

The real question is: will BTC whales influence Bitcoin in the future? It isn't easy to tell. Right now, Bitcoin isn't regulated in most parts of the world, and perhaps legislation can protect the market from such manipulations. But, on the other hand, regulations could affect the freedom offered by BTC.

FAQ

What is a Bitcoin whale?

A whale is a colloquial term for a person who owns a large amount of cryptocurrency. Whales are very large and powerful animals, which is why they're used as metaphors to describe traders with massive amounts of money or cryptocurrency. 

Who owns the most Bitcoin?

MicroStrategy by Michael Saylor is a public company with most BTC in its ownership. A private company called Block.one is a Chinese corporation which owns around 140,000 BTC.

Who is the richest Bitcoin owner?

Changpeng Zhao is the Binance exchange owner. Although he is not the richest in BTC, he is the wealthiest crypto owner with around $65 billion.

How much Bitcoin do I need to become a Bitcoin whale?

There's no official consensus on this, but the most common number we've stumbled upon is 10,000 BTC.

How do Bitcoin whales make money?

They do it by placing orders and trading large amounts of Bitcoin. This creates the changes in price that the whales anticipate and use to their advantage to make a profit.

What percentage of Bitcoin do Bitcoin whales own?

It's difficult to know the exact percentage. According to the official stats, the wealthiest 82 addresses hold around 14.15% of all BTC. However, BTC skeptics claim that whales have as much as 50%.

Which cryptocurrency do most crypto whales buy?

Bitcoin is still the most popular cryptocurrency among crypto whales, although some are interested in buying the less popular ones to manipulate the market easily. Bitcoin has become immense, so individual whales cannot cause such a massive disruption on the market as before.

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Robin Storm
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Always on the lookout for the best online casinos and their latest offerings, Robin works hard to make gambling fun and worry-free for all the players. His years of experience working in the industry provides. If he’s not trying out new casinos and playing slots, Robin enjoys testing new recipes and listening to the latest hits. He is very passionate about being able to play casino games in a relaxed and fun way and he is enthusiastic to share in his articles on how to play at casinos and avoid all the hassle.
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