The volatility and liquidity of the cryptocurrency market are influenced by various factors that make it a well-known wild west of swings of gradual growth, sudden rate drops, and a lot of unexpected changes. While many accumulate a great deal of wealth profiting from chart movements, many also incurred huge losses from this unpredictable asset trading class. Some influences include supply and demand, news and events, exchange listing and delisting of cryptocurrencies, hackings and fraudulent attacks, government regulations, and whales.
Take the case of the whale – whenever they decide to transfer their funds, it causes large waves of volatility that the small fish have little or no influence over. They either swim with the current or perish in the wave.
The crypto world refers to entities or individual investors that hold large amounts of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or other altcoins as “whales.” Whales are able to trigger fluctuations of crypto valuations each time they move their funds in either direction. Since they are price influencers, small fries needed to watch their every movement to maximize their trading opportunities because price valuations are sure to move. Statistics show that the 80-20 rule applies in the crypto world: 20% owns 80% of the wealth. That means that 39 whales are controlling more than 11% of Bitcoin, 154 whales are storing 40% of Ethereum, 47% of Litecoin in circulation belongs to 128 whales, and only 140 wallets contain more than 50% of Tether. If this is the case, they can be misjudged as price manipulators each and every time they move their funds, to the consternation of small traders and investors getting whose inattentiveness can get them rekt.
On the other hand, whales are rarely known to move their funds the way small traders and investors do, which when done on a 24-hour basis, can cause volatility. Price stability is usually the result of whales holding off movement for long periods.
To give a concrete picture of what kind whales are, here are some prime examples.
- Satoshi Nakamoto. The pseudonymous Bitcoin creator reportedly owns 1.1 million bitcoins.
- The Winklevoss Twins. These Gemini stablecoin founders claim they own 1% of all Bitcoin. It looks like 170,000 bitcoins belong to them.
- Roger Ver. The CEO of Bitcoin.com once possessed 300,000 bitcoins.
- Tim Draper. This American venture capitalist is said to have 30,000 bitcoins to his name.
- Barry Silbert. The CEO of Digital Currency Group was known to have acquired 48,000 bitcoins off a US government auction.
- MicroStrategy. The business intelligence company headed by CEO Michael J. Saylor recently purchased 21,454 bitcoins for $250 million. So as not to disturb market tranquility, they placed buy orders of 0.19 BTC per second for 74 hours, and completed a total of 88,617 trades for the whole duration.
- PayPal. Last October, Paypal bought up to 70% of all newly mined bitcoin since they decided to adopted Bitcoin and offered cryptocurrency services.
The unstable and inflationary fiat currency is driving institutional investors to enter the crypto-asset market, and as the days go by, these whales are bound to increase trading volumes and order sizes that would immensely contribute to the maturity of the crypto market. The hedging will surely stabilize market volatility. Saylor stated it well with what he said about bitcoins:
“This investment reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash.”