If you want to know what a crypto whale is, you’ve come to the right place. A whale is someone who owns a large number of cryptocurrencies compared to other investors. This enables them to manipulate the market since they have enormous buying and selling power.

If whales sell their digital coins, it can start a chain reaction. This can cause significant changes in the value of a certain cryptocurrency.

What is considered a whale in crypto? How do whales affect the crypto market, and who are the most popular crypto whales? Let’s find out.

Learn in This Article

  • Crypto whale definition
  • Importance of crypto whales
  • Impact on the crypto market
  • What a Bitcoin whale is
  • What crypto whales are buying

What Is a Crypto Whale?

Cryptocurrency owners can be classified according to the amount of coins they hold. On that note, you’ll come across shrimps, crabs, octopuses, fishes, dolphins, sharks, and whales. As you can see, the top of the chain belongs to whales.

With that in mind, the crypto whale’s meaning can be explained in the following way. Crypto whales are single entities or companies that own a large number of a single crypto coin, such as BTC and ETH.

How to become a crypto whale? You must own a certain number of BTC or other altcoins to be classified as one.

How Many Bitcoins Make You a Whale?

To become a cryptocurrency whale, you’ll have to own between 1000 and 5000 BTC or 10% of a certain altcoin. Here’s how the situation looks with other classifications:

  • Shrimp: 1 BTC
  • Crab: 1–10 BTC
  • Octopus: 10–50 BTC
  • Fish: 50–100 BTC
  • Dolphin: 100–500 BTC
  • Shark: 500–1,000 BTC

Why Are Crypto Whales Important?

Crypto whales play a significant role in the crypto world — their investments will affect the prices of cryptocurrencies. How so?

As mentioned before, when whales sell their cryptocurrency, it can start a chain reaction. In other words, many investors could follow their example due to panic. This could lead to changes in supply and demand. Higher demand equals higher prices and vice versa.

In addition to affecting cryptocurrency prices, crypto whales can also have an impact on decentralization and liquidity.

Decentralization is something that distinguishes blockchain technology. The lack of a central authority that would control the network makes blockchain attractive to many investors. However, if a certain entity holds the majority of cryptocurrencies, it will make the network less decentralized and less secure.

Market whales will also have more control over PoS-based blockchains since they’ll have more voting power.

As for liquidity, when whales hold their crypto coins, their liquidity on the market will decrease. However, if whales decide to trade their tokens actively, the market will become much more dynamic.

How Big Is Their Impact on the Crypto Market?

It goes without saying that crypto whales have a huge impact on the crypto market. In fact, they use different tactics to manipulate the market, such as:


Spoofing refers to placing large buy/sell orders and canceling them before execution. The process can include layering, quote stuffing, and time and sales manipulation.

Wash Trading

Similar to the crypto wash sale, wash trading is buying and selling the same crypto coins simultaneously to give the impression of high trading activity.

Pump and Dump

This term refers to pumping up the price of a certain cryptocurrency and selling it after its price drops.

Who Are the Bitcoin Whales?

Now that you know what is a whale in crypto terminology and what is their importance for the crypto market, here’s a list of the most popular crypto whales:

  • Satoshi Nakamoto: Creator of BTC who allegedly owns about 1 million BTC
  • Michael Saylor: The former CEO of MicroStrategy holds more than 17,732 BTC
  • Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb: Ripple’s co-founders hold about 5.19 billion XRP and 3.4 billion XRP, respectively
  • Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss: The Winklevoss twins are believed to own 70,000 BTC
  • Tim Draper: This American investor owns 30,000 BTC

This list also includes the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, and the co-creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. However, the exact number of their digital assets is not known.

How to See What Crypto Whales Are Buying?

Since cryptocurrencies run on public ledgers, all transactions are public. That said, there are various ways to find out what crypto and NFT whales are buying. Why is this important? Because it helps us predict how the prices of certain cryptocurrencies will move in the future.

For example, if whales transfer a large amount of a certain altcoin from their wallet to a crypto exchange, it means that they intend to sell it. This will in many cases reduce the price of that altcoin as its supply will increase.

The same rule applies to purchases. Namely, if whales buy a large amount of a certain altcoin, they probably intend to hodl it. This could be a sign that the market could become bullish.

Here’s how to see what crypto whales are buying:

Use Blockchain Explorers

Blockchain explorers are virtual databases where you’ll find details about transactions on a specific blockchain. To use a blockchain explorer, you must choose the blockchain you wish to explore. Then you need to look for large transactions.

This will help you discover which altcoins whales accumulate the most. For example, if the majority of whales hold a certain coin, it’s a sign that its demand could increase. The most popular blockchain explorers are Etherscan and Blockcypher.

Use Crypto Whale Tracking Tools

These tools will help you track blockchain transactions made by whales. Some of the most popular whale tracking tools are Whale Alert, Zerion, DeBank, and Dex Check. What is a Whale Alert? This is a tool that provides real-time alerts about whale transactions.


What is a whale investor? Whale investors are single entities or organizations that have a large number of certain cryptocurrencies in their wallets. This makes them very important for the crypto market since their trading activities will influence the trends, dynamics, and prices of cryptocurrencies. 

Now that you know what a crypto whale is, make sure to use blockchain explorers and tracking tools to see which coins whales trade the most. This will help you understand market trends and make informed decisions.


What happens when a whale sells crypto?

How do crypto whales make money?

What are whale trades?