Bitcoin plummets, what are the movements of those Bitcoin whales?
Bitcoin's drop What's happening with the Bitcoin whales?
Author: Huohuo, Blockchain in Plain Language
We know that whales are the largest creatures in the ocean and often cause huge waves when they surface. Similarly, users who hold a large amount of cryptocurrency can cause market fluctuations when transferring funds, so the community refers to those who hold a certain amount of cryptocurrency as crypto whales.
Crypto whales, especially Bitcoin whales, are particularly noteworthy. The term “Bitcoin Whale” refers to users who hold a large amount of Bitcoin, including both individuals and various Bitcoin funds and investment institutions. It usually refers to those who hold at least 1000 BTC or its equivalent value in USD or more.
Because these whales hold a large amount of Bitcoin, each of their transactions can potentially have a profound impact on the market.
Therefore, it is of great significance to closely monitor the behavior of cryptocurrency whales.
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Who are the top Bitcoin whales?
People have always been interested in the movements of Bitcoin whales in the holding rankings. However, in reality, we can only count some identified whales, as BTC holders usually do not keep all their assets in the same address, and mysterious whales do not publicly disclose their BTC addresses. We can only try to analyze and organize the data based on publicly available information.
bitinfocharts BTC Address Rich List TOP 10
1) Grayscale Bitcoin Trust: 654,885 BTC
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, abbreviated as GBTC, was established by Barry Silbert in 2013. He is also the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), an investment firm in Bitcoin and blockchain. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust was sponsored by Grayscale Investments, LLC, a subsidiary of the group.
Grayscale, the parent company of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, is the largest digital asset management company in the market and one of the largest Bitcoin buyers in the world. The trust fund was launched in September 2013 with the trading code “GBTC,” and GBTC is one of its largest products. It is mainly designed for investors who want to invest in Bitcoin but are concerned about risks. Investors provide cash or Bitcoin to Grayscale in exchange for GBTC shares, eliminating the need to worry about how to store Bitcoin, legal issues, and taxation. These shares are backed by a certain amount of Bitcoin and have an annual fee deduction of 2%. They can be traded and circulated on the secondary market.
Grayscale has been one of the major holders of Bitcoin for many years. Currently, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust holds 654,885 BTC, worth over $17 billion, ranking first.
2) Top CEXs: Approximately 2.5 million BTC
As the most concentrated place of liquidity, the cold wallet addresses of top CEXs usually hold BTC belonging to the platform itself and a large number of user deposits. The reason for listing them as whales as a whole is that centralized CEXs can freely move these BTC without restrictions. The BTC wallets of these top CEXs have also been closely monitored, as any large inflows or outflows (transfers or theft) can have a significant impact on the market.
3) US Government: 164,004 BTC
The US government holds a total of 164,004 BTC, held in 2 addresses. According to relevant information, the BTC held by the US authorities were mainly confiscated from three events:
– 69,369 BTC confiscated from the largest dark web marketplace Silk Road in November 2020;
– 94,643 BTC confiscated from the Bitfinex hacker in January 2022;
– 51,326 BTC confiscated from Silk Road hacker James Zhong in March 2022.
In March of this year, 9,861 BTC were sold at a price lower than the market price of $21,877, generating revenue of $215.5 million after deducting fees. Due to the huge amount of BTC held by the US, many market investors are always concerned about whether the US will sell BTC, as such a large amount of BTC could potentially cause significant market volatility.
4) Block.one: 164,000 BTC
Block.one is a technology development company founded in 2017 that focuses on blockchain technology and is committed to building decentralized applications (DApps) and blockchain solutions. One of its most famous products is the domain EOS.IO. According to relevant reports, from June 2017 to June 2018, they raised $4 billion through a year-long sale, which was subsequently converted into Bitcoin and US Treasury bonds.
In addition to EOS.IO, Block.one is also involved in other areas related to blockchain and digital assets, including digital identity verification, financial services, and data privacy.
According to Bloomberg, the CEO of Block.one mentioned in an email sent to shareholders on March 19, 2019, that the company holds 140,000 BTC.
5) MicroStrategy: 152,333 BTC
MicroStrategy Incorporated is a US publicly traded company that provides business intelligence, mobile software, and cloud-based services. The company was founded by Michael J. Saylor and Sanju Bansal in 1989 and develops software for analyzing internal and external data to make business decisions and develop mobile applications.
In August 2020, MicroStrategy announced the purchase of $250 million worth of Bitcoin, followed by an additional purchase of $175 million worth of Bitcoin.
According to MicroStrategy’s second-quarter financial report, as of July 31, 2023, MicroStrategy holds a total of 152,800 BTC, with a total cost of $4.53 billion, averaging a cost of $29,672 per BTC. In the second quarter, they added 12,333 BTC to their holdings. Their BTC holdings have increased from 129,699 in 2021 to the current 152,333, ranking fourth. Their holdings have increased by 17.45% in the past two years.
So far, they have only sold assets once, selling 704 BTC at an average price of $16,776 per BTC on December 22, 2022, to obtain tax benefits.
6) MTGOX K.K.: 141,686 BTC
Mt. Gox K.K. is a well-known platform that closed down due to a hacker attack, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It was once one of the largest Bitcoin trading platforms in the world, established in 2010. “Mt. Gox” stands for “Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange” and was originally an online trading platform for buying and selling virtual Magic cards.
However, over time, Mt. Gox gradually transformed into a Bitcoin-centric CEX, becoming a center for thousands of Bitcoin transactions and trades worldwide. However, in 2014, it was hacked, resulting in the suspension of trading and the announcement of a significant loss of Bitcoin due to the attack. This led to its users losing billions of dollars and triggered a severe financial and legal crisis. The bankruptcy application and liquidation process of Mt. Gox continued for several years.
Although the collapse of Mt. Gox caused significant losses and chaos, it also prompted the cryptocurrency industry to pay more attention to security, regulatory compliance, and user protection, thereby having a profound impact on the industry.
However, the BTC balance on MTGOX K.K.’s account is still substantial, with a total of 141,686 BTC.
7) Marathon Digital Holdings: 12,964 BTC
Marathon Digital Holdings is a U.S. digital asset technology company focused on Bitcoin block production and blockchain technology. The company’s mission is to support the security and reliability of the Bitcoin network through block production and seek growth and innovation in the digital asset field.
As a publicly traded company, Marathon Digital Holdings has a professional team in the digital asset field dedicated to utilizing blockchain and Bitcoin technology for innovation.
Currently, they have the largest proportion of unrealized profits (profits held without being realized) in Bitcoin holdings, at 106.3%. This is due to the nature of their block production business, where their entry price was effectively $0 per Bitcoin, although this does not include the costs involved in mining Bitcoin, such as labor, facilities, and electricity expenses.
Their Bitcoin holdings have grown from approximately $1.9 billion in entry prices in 2021 to $3.9 billion today. Their total Bitcoin holdings have also increased by 28.94%, from 10,054 BTC to 12,964 BTC, currently ranking seventh.
8) Tesla: 10,800 BTC
In the past two years, Tesla’s cryptocurrency holdings have experienced significant fluctuations. In February 2021, Elon Musk’s innovative car company purchased approximately $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin at an average price of $36,000 per coin. Shortly after adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet, Tesla announced that it would accept cryptocurrency as a payment option, allowing customers to purchase certain products using Bitcoin and Dogecoin. However, they later removed Bitcoin as an approved payment method.
Then, in the financial statements for the second quarter of 2022, the company announced that it had sold 75% of its total holdings, citing environmental concerns and the need for asset rebalancing. Since then, they have retained the remaining 25% (approximately 10,800 BTC) and have not engaged in any further buying or selling.
According to the latest news from yesterday, August 17th, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Tesla’s subsidiary, SLianGuaiceX, sold a total of $373 million worth of Bitcoin last year and in 2021, but did not specify the quantity or timing. Musk mentioned in a speech in 2021 that SLianGuaiceX owned Bitcoin, but the amount was not disclosed as the company is privately held.
Perhaps influenced by this news, the price of Bitcoin plummeted by over 8% this morning, dropping to $25,409 at one point. The Bitcoin price on Bitfinex even went lower, reaching a low of $24,715 before rebounding to $26,000. This drop has set a new low for Bitcoin since June 20th.
9) Hut 8 Mining Corp: 9,152 BTC
Hut 8 Mining is a Canadian Bitcoin mining company that focuses on block production and the management of digital assets.
The company was founded in 2017 and is one of the largest publicly traded Bitcoin block production companies in North America. It operates mining facilities in multiple locations in Canada, verifying and recording transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain by solving complex algorithmic problems to earn Bitcoin as a reward. With its three main mining centers, it is able to mine an average of around 300 Bitcoins per month.
As a publicly traded company, Hut 8 Mining is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, allowing investors to participate in its Bitcoin block-related business by purchasing company stocks. The company aims to provide efficient block production services and offer investors direct opportunities to participate in Bitcoin.
Since 2021, the company has increased its total holdings of Bitcoin by adding 10,766 BTC, bringing the total to 9,152 BTC.
The company has maintained its long-term “HODL strategy” in the face of market volatility, with all the BTC it has mined being held in trust. It currently holds 9,152 BTC.
However, as the difficulty of producing blocks in the Bitcoin halving increases, Hut 8 Mining Corp’s profitability in the second quarter of 2023 has been disappointing, leading to a decline in HUT stock price.
In addition, according to The Block’s news on August 6th, stablecoin issuer Tether disclosed in its quarterly report that it holds approximately $1.67 billion worth of Bitcoin. This news makes Tether one of the largest holders of this asset. Although Tether has not officially disclosed its Bitcoin addresses, it is likely to hold multiple Bitcoin wallets.
In addition, the top 200 Bitcoin addresses own about 20% of the total circulating Bitcoin. There are many individuals or entities that hold a large amount of Bitcoin, and many of them are in anonymous status.
According to Glassnode data, since the most recent Bitcoin halving in 2020, the number of Bitcoin whales reached a peak of about 2,500 in February 2021, and has been declining since then, with only a rebound from February to March 2022. On February 19, 2023, it reached its lowest point, with only 2,027 wallet addresses holding more than 1,000 Bitcoins or above. The last lowest point occurred on August 5, 2019, when there were 2,023 addresses.
The total balance of whale entities has also been declining. According to the chart below, whale entities accounted for 46% of the total supply this year, lower than the 63% at the beginning of 2021.
Specifically, since May 30, the total balance held by Bitcoin whale addresses has decreased by about 255,000 Bitcoins, representing the largest monthly balance decline in history, reaching 148,000 Bitcoins.
On August 3, according to market news from Santiment, the number of Bitcoin addresses holding at least 100 Bitcoins is nearly 16,000 (15,870). These whale addresses collectively hold 11.5 million Bitcoins, accounting for over half (59.2%) of the existing total supply. In the past 12 weeks, the total holdings of these addresses have increased by nearly 2.87755 million Bitcoins.
Many traders see this as a bearish signal and may be concerned about the upcoming price decline. Although the recent flow of funds from Bitcoin whales has reached hundreds of millions of dollars, the price of Bitcoin has not yet broken through $30,000. However, for smaller investors, this may mean new opportunities.
Similarly, the net position change of Bitcoin holders has recently reached a monthly low. This indicator measures the position changes of long-term investors on a monthly basis, showing whether investors are increasing or decreasing their Bitcoin positions.
According to data provided by Glassnode, this indicator has just reached a monthly low of 17,604.723. This indicates that in the past few weeks, more holders have closed their Bitcoin positions to take profits rather than opening new positions. This also indicates that whales are taking some action and then returning to a wait-and-see state.
From a more macro perspective, people may be more concerned about the global economic recession and the lack of motivation for investors to increase their positions in the risk market. In addition, the possibility of the approval of Bitcoin spot ETFs has not been determined, and the market lacks further confidence. At the same time, there is still some pessimism about the regulation faced by cryptocurrencies.
You can glimpse a bit from the Bitcoin futures market. The Bitcoin futures market plays an extremely important role in the field of trading. Futures contracts are financial agreements between two parties, where the actual BTC does not change hands. However, in the past seven months, the trading volume related to Bitcoin futures has been declining.
The latest data shows that the trading volume of BTC futures has dropped to the lowest level since December 2022, averaging less than 7 billion US dollars per day. This indicates that traders either do not want to take further action at the current price level, or they have shifted their attention to other markets with higher volatility or greater potential for significant changes.
Overall, individual whales are suspected of being shuffled, and the activities and adjustments of some whales are mainly driven by short-term holders. Most whales hold Bitcoin as an asset and adopt a wait-and-see attitude while maintaining unrealized profits.
It can be seen that the largest Bitcoin holders at present are Grayscale, top CEX, and the US government. In addition, stablecoin issuer Tether has also become one of the whale holders.
Since 2021, the number of super whales has decreased, but there have also been rebounds and an increase in retail investors during specific time periods. This may be caused by the wave of applications for Bitcoin ETFs by US institutions, resulting in some short-term fluctuations. Most entity corporate whale holders still hold Bitcoin assets and have not sold large amounts, remaining in a state of inaction.