There is a term “bitcoin whale” that anyone interested in cryptocurrency frequently encounters. So, what is a Bitcoin whale? How whales affect cryptocurrency market?

In the cryptocurrency world, powerful investors or traders who own a significant amount of crypto in their wallets or addresses are called whales. A whale can be an individual, an institution, or an organization. There are including all types of whales like BTC whales, ETH whales, and BCH whales. The term “Bitcoin Whales” is used to describe the market players who have a considerable amount of Bitcoins. They can manipulate the market either by selling or buying a large amount of cryptocurrency. Whales are the number one responsible for price fluctuations by influencing the Bitcoin market.

The Ocean Represents the Cryptocurrency Market

The oceanic metaphor is often using to describe the entire bitcoin market. The ocean represents the crypto market, which includes many fish, big and small. They cause little or large waves in the cryptocurrency market, just like in the ocean. We can fill the ocean description of the cryptocurrency market with many more terms. Besides whales who are big crypto holders, players with a profit craze are called sharks. Compared to whales, those who have smaller cryptocurrencies are called dolphins. If we classify according to the amount of BTC they have, we can list the market players as follows.


The Notable Bitcoin Whales

Whales are the largest Bitcoin investors on the market and have a significant impact on the price movements of cryptocurrencies. Whales can be individuals or large institutions such as hedge funds and Bitcoin mutual funds, holding around 1k bitcoin or more. Satoshi Nakatamo, the creator of bitcoin, is known as the biggest bitcoin whale. Here is a list of other notable bitcoin whales who are powerful enough to change the value of a coin in a huge amount.


  • Pantera Capital 
  • Fortress Investment Group
  • Falcon Global Capital
  • Binary Financial
  • Bitcoins Reserve


  • Twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss – co-founders of the Gemini Crypto Exchange
  • Tim Draper – Founder of Draper Associates
  • Barry Silbert – Digital Currency Group CEO and founder  
  • Changpeng Zhao – CEO and founder of the Binance crypto exchange


How Whales Affect Cryptocurrency Market?

Whales, the largest creatures in the ocean, create ripples with their movements and change the direction of small fishes. The main reason big bitcoin holders are called whales is that they manipulate and direct smaller fishes (investors) by buying and selling large amounts of coins.

It’s not hard to understand how whales manipulate the crypto exchange. They can decide to reduce the value of the crypto whenever they want. To do this, they start by selling their coins at a price lower than the market value. Since they hold a large percentage of the coin volume, they send the message to the market that “bitcoin is losing value.” Small investors affected by this try to sell their bitcoins quickly without losing value through panic selling. This event starts to lower prices even more than they are. The whales then take action by purchasing more bitcoins at a lower price. Eventually, the Bitcoin price starts to rise again, bringing them more wealth than they ever have.

Whales originally made their trades on the largest bitcoin exchanges. Most still do. However, to maintain anonymity and gain access to more liquidity, the whale has moved away from traditional exchanges. They started buying and selling their crypto from off the exchange books known as the Over the Counter (OTC) trade. That way, they can purchase large amounts of coins without being noticed by the public.