If I'm not a Bitcoin whale, then what am I?
Within the cryptocurrency ecosystem Bitcoin whales are often noted as the kingpins, the big kahunas, the dogs bollo… you get the idea. But one creature does not make an ecosystem… So let's have a look at what you are, if not a Bitcoin whale!
Bitcoin whales always hit the headlines, they’re always causing a stir, gaining notoriety, getting all the recognition. These beasts even have a dedicated taxonomy published by the blockchain researchers, Chainalysis.
These whale panderers analyzed the transactional history of 32 of the largest BTC wallets, (excluding those on exchanges) to develop a model which described four basic types of Bitcoin whale:
The Trader Whale:
According to the research, these guys regularly transact on exchanges, citing 9 wallets with more than 332,000 worth over $1.3 billion at current prices.
The Miners/Earlier Adopter Whale:
The second largest group, who had the common sense to enter the sea (the market) sooner than anyone else and gobble up all that plankton (BTC) – bored of the whale analogies yet? These count 15 wallets among their numbers, holding a total of 332,000 BTC currently worth over $1.3 billion USD.
The Lost Whales:
An elusive beast, will they resurface? Only time will tell. These count among 5 wallets holding around 212,000 BTC, approximately $850 million USD is lost to these creatures who are either dead or forgot their private key (there are probably other scenarios, but these two extremes are more fun…)
The Criminal Whale:
Thankfully, these are the smallest type of whale (let's call them Dwarf Sperm Whales) with just 3 wallets holding over 125,000 BTC between them, a current dollar equivalent of $500 million. Mostly they’re associated with Silkroad or money laundering. Naughty whales.
Read more: What are Bitcoin whales and do they really control the market?
But these focus only on those holding well above 100,000 BTC … why is it only the ballers with bags and bags of crypto that get all the credit? This is an ecosystem, is it not?
If there are Bitcoin whales then it makes sense that there would be a plethora of other organisms floating around this great BT-sea, yet don’t hear talk of a crab transferring 4 BTC to an exchange… Lesser holders deserve acknowledgment
So let’s provide…
Below we’ve compiled a comprehensive list, ranking various levels of cryptocurrency holders:
Blue Whale = 10,000 BTC or more
These are your aforementioned big kahunas, the investors with some serious capital, either they jumped into crypto super early, they’re big investors or it’s a hedge fund. Think players such as Tim Draper, the Winklevoss twins, and portfolio managers like Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital etc.
… and of course, who could forget, the man/woman/group, him/her/themselves, Satoshi Nakamoto.
According to Bitinfocharts, there are around 99 addresses that hold a balance of more than 10k in BTC, amounting to a total of almost $10 billion.
Here’s a titbit of irritating information for all you crabs out there: Back in 2010 when BTC was just $0.06, you could have become a Blue whale for a mere $600. Bargain.
Humpback Whale = 5000 BTC to 10000 BTC
The classic whale, everyone knows them, they pop up now and then whenever there’s a market crash and the community needs something to blame.
There’s many more of these beasts swimming around, and while not quite as elusive as some of the blue whales, they’re still packing a fair bit of crypto. There are approximately 1739 addresses holding between 1000 – 10000 in BTC, with a current grand total USD equivalent of $16 billion.
Dwarf Sperm Whale = 1000 – 5000 BTC
That’s right, the smallest whale in the ocean! While these creatures still technically class as whales, they’re at the lower end of our marine mammal classification; Just about scraping through, with just enough to make some impact on the market.
If you happen to fit into this category your current Bitcoin net worth is around $3-$17 million. Not bad. Keep it up.
Shark = 500 - 1000 BTC
This is where we get into the smaller less acknowledged species within the crypto ecosystem. These players still have more than enough to hold their own, but not quite enough to implode the market. Hell, you might even know one…
We’re entering the zone of $1.7 – $3.5 million with this kind of investment. HODL.
Dolphin = 100 - 1000 BTC
You definitely know one of these guys, he probably goes by the Twitter handle ‘crypt0 kid’ but his real name is Nathan; he brags about holding Bitcoin, and won't sell “until it’s mainstream, man…”. He’s somehow an influencer on social media with 100k+ followers and thinks that just because he took a punt on Bitcoin when it was sub $300, he’s an expert…
OR, they just have a fair amount of BTC… Classic dolphins!
Fish = 10 - 100 BTC
As we descend down, deeper into the food chain we reach the humble fish. This category of HODLer lays claim to the highest percentage of Bitcoins’ circulating supply (just over a quarter) with approximately 133,276 addresses holding a total of around 4,386,051 BTC.
Read more: 8 long-term Bitcoin price predictions by experts
Crab = 1 - 10 BTC
We’ve almost reached the end now and there’s a whole load of addresses holding this range of BTC, 558,792 addresses, to be precise. These little fellas make up 8.43% of the total BTC in circulation.
Useless fact: Much like some crabs, a lot of crypto enthusiasts are hermits …
Shrimp = less than 1 BTC
The shrimp, right at the bottom of the food chain; a massive 11,082,448 Addresses in the range of 1 - 0.001 BTC making up a jaw-dropping 96% of all BTC addresses in existence, holding 736,659 BTC among them.
The shrimp simultaneously represents everyone who’s ever received a BTC gift card for Christmas, anyone you’ve convinced to buy some BTC because “it’s really cheap right now,” and of course those people who opened a Coinbase account with every intention of buying BTC, only to forget and “miss the boat”.
And there we have it, a new taxonomy for the ages. The real question is: Where do you fit in?