What is a Bitcoin Whale? 

So, what is a Bitcoin Whale? 

By definition, Bitcoin Whales are people or entities who hold at least 1,000 BTC. 

Collectively Bitcoin Whales control such a large proportion of the market that they can greatly influence price by buying dips and selling when Bitcoin prices increase. 


Due to the decentralised and private nature of cryptocurrency as a whole, the vast majority of Bitcoin whales stay anonymous. Despite this, the fascinating Twitter feed provided by @whale_alert gives some interesting insights in to who moves the most Bitcoin between various wallets and exchanges. 

Just today (30th April 2021), a Bitcoin whale moved a huge 11,827BTC between their accounts: 

Therefore, although we can’t see who the whales are, we can see the sheer scale of the BTC holdings that whales control. 

Satoshi Nakamoto 

Satoshi Nakamoto is the mysterious and unknown founder of Bitcoin, with a reported Bitcoin holding of 1,000,000 Bitcoins, this makes him the biggest Bitcoin whale of all. 

At the time of writing Satoshi’s reported Bitcoin hoard is worth $56,834,300,000! That is more than the entire gross domestic product of Uruguay

Sea Creatures 

As we will see from the chart below, whale is not the only term used for someone who holds Bitcoin. If you are committed to growing your Bitcoin portfolio, you can work your way up from a Shrimp with less than one Bitcoin, to a Dolphin (up to 500 BTC) and all the way to a Humpback Whale with more than 5,000 BTC! 

What is a Bitcoin Whale

Image courtesy of Glassnode 

The Glassnode chart shows that a large proportion of Bitcoin (31.7% or 5.9 million BTC), is held by either Whales or Humpback Whales, meaning that they still have big influence on the price of Bitcoin. 

As the popularity of Bitcoin continues to grow it is likely that the percentage of Bitcoin controlled by whales will decrease, as there will be more holders in the market.  Alternatively, if the current whales insist on hodling, they will maintain their ability to manipulate the price of BTC in to the future. 

Have you enjoyed our What is a Bitcoin Whale article? If this has inspired you to purchase Bitcoin, have a look in to our comparison of the best places to buy Bitcoin via our Best Bitcoin Exchanges page. 

Please note, this article is not investment advice and is for information purposes only.