Bitcoin Whales Have Been Swimming in Different Directions

While the number of smaller whales has declined, the number of larger bitcoin whales has risen. What do the trends mean?

AccessTimeIconMar 8, 2023 at 10:31 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin whales have been swimming in different directions.

Smaller whales, or those holding a balance of 1,000 or more bitcoin (BTC), have been in a steady, prolonged decline, falling 13% to 2,003 since a short-term peak of 2,292 in March 2022.

But the number of larger whales, or those holding over 10,000 BTC, have exhibited the exact opposite behavior, increasing 34% over the same period.

The diverging behavior reflects the groups’ differing sentiment about bitcoin’s prospects in the months ahead, and their investment strategies.

Given past behavior it appears that smaller whales may be taking a more tactical approach to holdings consistent with their approaches in recent years. These whales have in recent years shown a remarkable ability, whether through luck, skill or a combination of both, to reduce bitcoin holdings at favorable moments.

Larger whales who may hold upwards of $220 million in bitcoin, by contrast, have been less tactical, likely because their size constrains their ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions.

Whale behavior generally offers substantial clues about the crypto market’s direction. Whales tend to buy bitcoin when they believe prices are at low points and that conditions are ripe for an upturn. Their acquisitions tend to spur spikes in bitcoin’s price and overall valuation. As bitcoin’s price has tumbled more than 70% from its all-time high near $70,000 in late 2021, the number of whale addresses holding at least 10,000 BTC has risen 7%.

Market conditions have soured over the past two weeks and whales have been sending BTC to exchanges – a bearish signal. In this light, larger whales’ movements may be confusing.

Or perhaps market observers should keep a keener eye on smaller whales, given their track record of avoiding danger.

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BTC addresses with balances > 1,000 (Glassnode)

The behavior aligns with metrics showing that whales have been sending BTC from their unique wallets to centralized exchanges – a bearish sign.

CoinDesk - Unknown
BTC addresses with balances > 10,000 (Glassnode)


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Glenn C Williams Jr, CMT is a Crypto Markets Analyst with an initial background in traditional finance. His experience includes research and analysis of individual cryptocurrencies, defi protocols, and crypto-based funds. He owns BTC, ETH, UNI, DOT, MATIC, and AVAX

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