Bitcoin whales have really been running wild over the past few weeks. On February 13th, a new transaction helped a wallet address rise to be one of the top-50 richest across the globe.
The Bitcoin transfer saw 20,000 BTC being moved, which represented at least 0.11% of the current supply of the cryptocurrency. There was not any specific information about who the account’s owner was or the reasons for transferring so much Bitcoin.
The big transaction seemingly represents big shifts in how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are being handled by whales. The globe’s richest Bitcoin owners have been taking full advantage of price rises and fall for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Large Bitcoin holders have managed to accrue 150,000 coins since December 17th of last year. In recent memory, whale wallets have been boosting their stashes during large drops in price. As of February 25th, Bittrex held the largest Bitcoin cold wallet, with 130,005 BTC (roughly $494 million).
The five largest Bitcoin addresses are owned by Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Huobi, and Binance, but a large number of whale wallet owners are still unknown. Overall, the 100 richest BTC addresses have anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000 BTC.
Over the last two months, data has shown that smaller holders (100-1000 BTC) have been giving up a lot of coins that have been going to many on the top-100 BTC whale list.
Many of these trends have been seen on the Bitcoin Cash front as well.
However, the actual distribution of cryptocurrency is different than for Bitcoin. 195 addresses have 10,000-1,00,000 BCH. This group owns about 26.5% of all the circulating BCH. The top 100 addresses have managed to accrue a lot of BCH after each price drop.
General speculation is that whales are trying to get more coins by precisely timing price highs and lows, especially since some long-dormant addresses have been accruing cryptocurrency.
However, Eric Stone of Flipside Crypto remarked how he thinks Bitcoin whales have lost some of their market power since the final quarter of 2018. Speculation is that the strong ‘buying power’ of Bitcoin could actually loosen the hold of Bitcoin whales.
Additionally, new Flipside Crypto research found how 99% of all Bitcoin resides in 8.59% of the non-empty Bitcoin wallets. This figure represents a 2% jump since November 2017, when prices of the cryptocurrency jumped to nearly $20,000.
Aaron Brown of AQR Capital Management noted back in 2017 how there’s probably a “few hundred guys” (Bitcoin whales) who can
“all probably can call each other, and they probably have.”
The idea is that some of the top whales could ‘band together,’ communicate, and the potential work to prop or tank the market.
Bloomberg said Roger Ver largely affirmed this perspective via email back in 2017, writing how
“I suspect that is likely true, and people should be able to do whatever they want with their own money. I’ve personally never had time for things like that though.”