Crypto whales are individuals or entities who hold large amounts of cryptocurrency and can influence markets with their trades.
You can spot whales by checking blockchain explorers for large transactions, as well as social media platforms for updates from whales and accounts that cover whale activity.
While whale activity can provide useful insights, it can be risky to rely on such activity to make trading decisions.
Crypto whales are individuals or entities who hold large amounts of cryptocurrency, having amassed their substantial holdings through early investments, mining, or other means. With significant crypto holdings at their fingertips, whales have the ability to influence the market by buying or selling large amounts of assets, causing price fluctuations.
In the crypto world, whales are often associated with high levels of volatility. Traders and investors watch them closely — an activity dubbed “whale watching” — to obtain valuable insights and make informed investment decisions.
What Makes a Cryptocurrency Holder a “Whale”?
While whales are individuals or entities who hold a large amount of cryptocurrency, there is no fixed amount of crypto assets someone must hold to be considered a whale. The term is relative and depends on the specific cryptocurrency in question.
A crypto holder can be considered a whale if they hold a significant percentage of the total supply of a particular cryptocurrency and are able to impact price movements by making trades.
To put this in perspective, someone who holds $1 million worth of an asset with a market capitalization of $100 million is a whale, while someone who holds $1 million worth of an asset with a market capitalization of $30 billion may not be considered a whale. While they each have $1 million in crypto assets, the former has more power to move markets than the latter.
How to Spot a Crypto Whale
Thanks to blockchain technology’s transparency, immutability, and openness, there are numerous ways to spot whales in action. Nevertheless, this isn’t always an easy task. Whales often use innovative tactics to move funds covertly in an effort to conceal their identity and the extent of their holdings. However, there are some indicators that can help identify potential crypto whales and their activity.
Analyzing trading patterns is a good starting point in identifying whale activity. Whales are known to impact the market by making large trades that can cause sudden price spikes or dips. You can identify potential whale activity by looking out for unusual patterns.
You can also look for large transactions using blockchain explorers such as Etherscan or Blockchain.com. When you see a large amount of cryptocurrency being moved, it could be a sign that a whale is active.
Another way to identify whale activity is to pay attention to social media platforms, especially Twitter. Whales often share their opinions on cryptocurrencies, market trends, and investment strategies on social media. You can gain insight into the movements of whales by looking out for posts or comments from these accounts.
Barring the more vocal whales who often announce their holdings on social media, whales may operate pseudonymously or divide their holdings among multiple wallets to avoid drawing attention to their assets.
Whale Watching: Should Crypto Investors Follow Whale Moves?
Following crypto whales can be advantageous for investors. One of the primary advantages is gaining insight into market sentiment. As whales make large trades, their actions can significantly influence investors’ opinions of a particular asset.
If whales start selling large chunks of their holdings in a particular asset, investors could have their confidence swayed, leading to greater downward pressure on the price of the asset. Conversely, whales may drive up the price of an asset, leading to a more bullish sentiment among investors. Being informed of whale trading activities earlier than others could place you ahead of the crowd.
In addition to providing insights into market sentiment and potential profit opportunities, whale activity can also hint at non-public information that could move the market. Observing the behavior of whales can provide early insight into these developments, which can help investors make informed decisions about their investments.
For instance, a whale might have non-public information on an impending partnership between a DeFi project and a large consumer brand. Spurred by this information, the whale might buy a large amount of tokens, pushing the price of this asset up. Investors who spot this trade may then extrapolate if it was truly a sign of this potential partnership or if the whale made the trade for other reasons.
Bear in mind, however, that investors shouldn’t rely solely on the actions of whales to make trading decisions as this approach is risky. Whales can and do manipulate markets to benefit themselves at the expense of others. They can buy a large number of tokens to drive up prices, then sell the tokens before others can identify their tactics.
Another potential drawback of whale-watching is the informational asymmetry that disadvantages smaller traders. Whales often have access to exclusive information that smaller traders don’t, and investors should do thorough fundamental research to ensure they don’t fall victim to pump-and-dump schemes.
It’s also important to remember that whales, like any other investor, can make emotional decisions not based on rational analysis. As such, following whales without adequate research could lead to poor investment decisions.
Whale-watching can be insightful and can help you make informed investment decisions. It can also alert you of any potential price movements or lead you to discover exclusive information.
However, whale-watching shouldn’t replace in-depth research into tokens and projects. Investors hoping to trade cryptocurrencies should avoid making investment decisions based purely on whale activity. Focusing on crypto fundamentals such as tokenomics and liquidity is the key to making smart decisions when it comes to your crypto holdings.