Contrary to the popular belief which posits that “crypto whales” are the prime culprits for digital currency market volatility – a new study published on October 10, 2018, by blockchain research firm Chainalysis suggests that cryptocurrency’s largest holders are a diverse set of individuals that help in stabilizing the nascent market.
Bitcoin Whales not to Blame for Volatility
A couple of months back, in August, rumors made rounds in the cryptosphere about a massive $2 billion crypto whale, which was reckoned to be responsible for the fall in Bitcoin’s (BTC) value by more than 15 percent after selling more than 50,000 coins in a month. This speculation was substantiated in a report by Bloomberg.
This centralization of power in the hands of the big players in the crypto industry is a major cause of worry among the retail and long-term investors, and rightly so.
At a whim, the price of a cryptocurrency could be inflated and deflated without anyone’s notice, basically destroying the very premise around which the concept of a “decentralized unit of value” revolves.
However, the study by Chainalysis shows these fears to be blown out of proportion. In proper crypto ethos – one might even call it FUD.
Analysis of the 32 biggest bitcoin wallets concluded that the so-called bitcoin whales are a diverse group, with only 1/3rd of them being active traders. And although theoretically, these whales do have the capability to move the markets as per their wish – in reality, they have generally traded against the herd by purchasing digital currencies on price declines.
Come to think of it; it makes sense as these trading giants are usually the veterans in the trading industry with no tangible interest in tanking the market abruptly.
Categorization of Bitcoin Whales
The study conducted by the blockchain research firm has come up with segregation of bitcoin whales into four broad categories. These are:
Frequently trading whales, this category consists of nine wallets controlling round about 332,000 bitcoins, worth over $2 billion. Notably, this group also makes up the largest category of the “bitcoin whales.”
The next group entered the market much earlier compared to the traders – possibly before the 2017 cryptocurrency frenzy. This group consists of 15 investors controlling almost the same amount of bitcoins as the traders, worth over $2 billion. However, the volume of trade in this group is meager.
This group also makes a substantial part of the holders with five wallets holding over 212,000 coins, worth almost $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, these holders have lost the private keys to their portfolios and can no longer access their bitcoin.
Finally, the darknet participants. This is the smallest group among the crypto whales comprising of three wallets holding just over 125,000 coins worth $790 million.