What is a Crypto Whale?

What is a Crypto Whale?

Crypto Whales. Yes, you read that correctly. You might be wondering what a crypto whale is…

A crypto whale is a colloquial term used to describe “large market players” in the cryptocurrency markets. If you imagine the analogy of the ocean, and we’re all happily swimming around. As an average Joe investor, we only have small sums of money available to us, and we’d be considered the “little fish” investors.

Whereas Crypto Whales are individuals or institutions with large sums/volumes of crypto assets. A Crypto Whale may hold large volumes of multiple cryptocurrencies or only a single cryptocurrency. You can, therefore, have Bitcoin Whales, Ethereum Whales, XRP Whales, EOS Whales, Litecoin Whales, Cardano Whales, Bitcoin Cash Whales, etc.

The oceanic analogy is appropriate as people talk about market waves and refer to small market rallies as feeding frenzies etc.

They are so-called Crypto Whales because if/when they sell a large amount of cryptocurrency it can cause a sudden drop in price as the relatively illiquid market cannot absorb such large sell orders, especially in a bear market. This can create a dip in the market charts, or a “wave” in the market, just as real whales make waves when they jump above the surface. Both illustratively in the cryptocurrency price charts as well as emotionally as people suffer a wave of panic when prices drop. Some weak hands will also sell their cryptocurrency holdings during the large sell-offs further contributing to the crypto whale initiated market wave.

How much crypto must you have to be considered a Crypto Whale?

While there is no rule for this, it generally must fit two criteria: (1) large volume of crypto (typically in the tens of thousands of BTC, hundreds of thousands of ETH and tens of millions of XRP); (2) large USD value, which is dependent on the market values of coins on any given day. Typically Crypto whales are worth MANY millions if not billions of dollars.

Bitcoin Whale
Bitcoin Whale

Who are the Crypto Whales?

It’s tough to be certain who the crypto whales are because of the pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and other cryptocurrencies.

There are some groups who have claimed the title of Crypto Whale, including:

  • Pantera Capital
  • Greyscale
  • Coin Capital Partners
  • Fortress
  • Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Trust
  • Bitcoin Investment Trust
  • Bitcoins Reserve
  • Binary Financial
  • Falcon Global Capital
  • Satoshi Nakamoto (wallet holds ~1,000,000 BTC), but its never been used.

Suspected Whales IMO:

  • The Winklevoss Twins
  • Roger Ver
  • Fidelity
  • Goldman Sachs (I could be wrong)
  • ICE (Parent company of Bakkt)
  • Bitmain
  • Other large miners
  • Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum Whale) & Joseph Lubin (Ethereum Whale)… likely.
  • Ripple (XRP Whale)
Who are the Crypto Whales?
Who are the Crypto Whales?

Theories on Crypto Whale Manipulation

Now I am no market analyst so take this with a grain of salt. The general sentiment on the internet about Crypto Whales is that they can and do manipulate the price of their respective cryptocurrency. Crypto Whales generally are financially well off and can afford to spend money. The idea is that they put in a large sell order on an exchange that they know cannot handle the volume of the sell order. This causes the price of the cryptocurrency to drop dramatically.

Once the price has dropped to a certain point the crypto whale takes fiat and buys up tons of low-cost cryptocurrency. Please note that they do not have to have their whole sell order filled. They just need to drop the price, cause panic, then other small fish investors start selling their cryptocurrency. This is when the whale cancels their sell order and starts buying the dip.

I personally think that this definitely happens, but to what extent I do not know.


I hope that you enjoyed this post on Crypto Whales and that you managed to learn a little something new about the crypto industry today.

There is a Twitter Account called “Whale Alert” where the individual (or group) tracks the blockchain for large cryptocurrency transactions/movements. Very interesting to pay attention to and keep an eye on. @whale_alert is really doing a great service to the crypto industry and average investor by broadcasting the transparency of the blockchain for our benefit to not fear crypto whale movements… or at the very least to be aware of them.

Keep in mind that these Crypto Whales are significant right now. This is due to the illiquidity of the global cryptocurrency markets. As institutional investors around the world start investing in earnest, and then as hundreds of millions of average Joe investors add cryptocurrency to their retirement portfolio, the liquidity and overall market value will rise. The Crypto Whales will have less impact on the market then. We will have the demand and liquidity to absorb the large sell orders, and the crypto will be more distributed.

People will be adding cryptocurrency to their portfolios just like they add stocks such as the S&P500 or Apple, Amazon, Johnson and Johnson, Oracle, Walmart, Berkshire Hathaway, etc, etc.

One of two things will happen with increased liquidity: (1) The Crypto Whales become massive in size; or (2) The Crypto Whales go the way of real life whales… endangered and hunted…

Let me know if you have any questions/comments in the comments below!

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Author: Markshire Crypto

Millennial cryptocurrency investor, researcher, and writer. Medical professional, avid reader, proud nerd, and intellectual. Founder of Markshire Crypto. Mark has been into cryptocurrency since 2017, following the industry daily and creating content.

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