Data by crypto analytics firm IntoTheBlock shows that addresses holding at least 0.1% of the bitcoin supply – worth more than $500 million – increased their stash by a total of $1.5 billion in the last two weeks of August.
The increase occurred while inflows into centralized exchanges were near zero, suggesting that “there is organic buying demand rather than just funds moving to exchange addresses,” Lucas Outumuro, head of research at IntoTheBlock, wrote in a report.
Whales are entities who control large amounts of a digital asset. Their purchases and sales can have a sizable impact on markets, thus crypto watchers closely follow their behavior to anticipate market movements.
Large holders first loaded up after Aug. 17, when BTC plunged more than 10% to below $26,000, its lowest price since June, IntoTheBlock data shows.
They also increased holdings earlier this week following asset manager Grayscale’s court victory over the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A federal appeals court ordered the agency to vacate and review its denial to convert the $14 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a more-desirable spot bitcoin ETF.
Analysts interpreted the court’s decision as a key advance towards listing the first spot BTC ETF in the U.S., making the largest cryptocurrency more accessible for a new class of investors.
Still, BTC has erased all gains from the brief rally ignited by the Grayscale ruling and slid back below $26,000 on Friday.
Despite the weak price action, the accumulation suggests that “institutional investors are getting optimistic in bitcoin as ETF decisions approach,” Outumuro said.
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