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How Bitcoin whales make a splash in markets and move prices

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How Bitcoin whales make a splash in markets and move prices

Deriving their names from the size of the massive mammals swimming around the earth’s oceans, cryptocurrency whales refer to individuals or entities that hold large amounts of cryptocurrency. 

In the case of Bitcoin (BTC), someone can be considered a whale if they hold over 1,000 BTC, and there are less than 2,500 of them out there. As Bitcoin addresses are pseudonymous, it is ofte difficult to ascertain who owns any wallet.

While many associates the term “whale” with some lucky early adopters of Bitcoin, not all whales are the same, indeed. There are several different categories:

Exchanges: Since the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges have become some of the biggest whale wallets as they hold large amounts of crypto on their order books. 

Institutions and corporations: Under CEO Michael Saylor, software firm MicroStrategy has come to hold over 130,000 BTC. Other publically-traded companies such as Square and Tesla have also bought up large hoards of Bitcoin. Countries like El Salvador have also purchased a considerable amount of Bitcoin to add to their cash reserves. There are custodians like Greyscale who hold Bitcoins on behalf of large investors.

Individuals: Many whales bought Bitcoin early when its price was much lower than today. The founders of the crypto exchange Gemini, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, invested $11 million in Bitcoin in 2013 at $141 per coin, buying over 78,000 BTC. American venture capitalist Tim Draper bought 29,656 BTC at $632 apiece at a United States Marshal’s Service auction. Digital Currency Group founder and CEO Barry Silbert attended the same auction and acquired 48,000 BTC.

Wrapped BTC: Currently, over 236,000 BTC is wrapped in the Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) ERC-20 token. These wBTCs are mostly kept with custodians who maintain the 1:1 peg with Bitcoin.

Satoshi Nakamoto: The mysterious and unknown creator of Bitcoin deserves a category of his own. It’s estimated that Satoshi may have over 1 million BTC. Although there is no single wallet that has 1 million BTC, using on-chain data shows that of the first 1.8 million or so BTC first created, 63% have never been spent, making Satoshi a multi-billionaire.

Centralization within the decentralized world

Critics of the crypto ecosystem say that whales make this space centralized, maybe even more centralized than the traditional financial markets. A Bloomberg report claimed that 2% of accounts controlled over 95% of Bitcoin. Estimates state that the top 1% of the world control 50% of the global wealth, which means that the inequality of wealth in Bitcoin is more prevalent than in traditional financial systems: an accusation that breaks the notion that Bitcoin can potentially break centralized hegemonies. 

The charge of centralization in the Bitcoin ecosystem has dire consequences that can potentially make the crypto market easily manipulatable.

However, insights from Glassnode show that these numbers seem to be exaggerated and don’t take the nature of addresses into account. There might be some degree of centralization, but that may be a function of free markets. Especially when there are no market regulations and some whales understand and trust Bitcoin more than the average retail investor, this centralization is bound to occur.

The “sell wall”

Sometimes, a whale puts up a massive order to sell a huge chunk of their Bitcoin. They keep the price lower than other sell orders. That causes volatility, resulting in the general reduction of the real-time prices of Bitcoin. This is followed by a chain reaction where people panic and start selling their Bitcoin at a cheaper price. 

The BTC price will only stabilize when the whale pulls their large sell orders. So, now the price is where the whales want it to be so they can accumulate more coins at their desired price point. The following tactic is known as a “sell wall.”

The opposite of this tactic is known as the Fear of Missing Out, or the FOMO, tactic. This is when whales put massive buy pressure on the market at higher prices than with current demand, which forces bidders to raise the price of their bids so they sell orders and fill their buy orders. However, this tactic needs substantial amounts of capital that aren’t required to pull off a sell wall.

Watching the selling and buying patterns of whales can sometimes be good indicators of price movements. There are websites like Whalemap that are dedicated to tracking every metric of whales and Twitter handles like Whale Alert, which has been a guide for Twitter users around the world to stay updated on whale movements.

When a whale makes a splash

Sixty-four of the top 100 addresses have yet to withdraw or transfer any Bitcoin, showing that the biggest whales might be the biggest hodlers in the ecosystem, ostensibly because of the profitability of their investment.

The evidence that whales mostly stay profitable is clear from the above graph. When calculated for a 30-day moving average, for the past decade, whales have remained profitable for over 70% of the time. In many ways, their trust in Bitcoin is what fortifies the price action. Being profitable (month-on-month in this case) during most of their investment period helps reinforce their faith in the hodl strategy. 

Even in 2022, one of the most bearish years in the history of Bitcoin, exchange balances have gone down, showing that most HODLers are stocking up on their Bitcoin. Most seasoned crypto investors refrain from keeping their long-term Bitcoin investments in exchanges, using cold wallets for hodling.

Kabir Seth, the founder of Speedbox and a long-term Bitcoin investor, told Cointelegraph:

“Most whales have seen multiple market cycles of Bitcoin to have the patience to wait for the next one. In the Bitcoin ecosystem now, the faith of whales is reinforced by the macroeconomics of inflation and more recently, the correlation with the stock markets. On-chain data of whale wallets show that most of them are hodlers. The ones that have come during this market cycle have not made realized profits to be selling. There is no reason to believe that whales will abandon the Bitcoin ship, especially when there is an economic fear of an impending recession looming.”

Kabir’s point on macroeconomics and correlation with the stock market can be observed in the graph below, which shows that since the last market cycle in early 2018, Bitcoin has closely followed traditional investment assets.

The silver lining in this trend is that Bitcoin has entered the mainstream in terms of consumer sentiment, changing its reputation of being a peripheral asset. On the other hand, a 0.6 Pearson correlation with the S&P 500 in no way means a hedge against the traditional markets. Other experts within the crypto ecosystem also seem to be frustrated with this trend.

The correlation with the stock markets is annoying.

— Michaël van de Poppe (@CryptoMichNL) June 7, 2022

Broader macroeconomics might be an important reason for the correlation between stocks and Bitcoin. The past couple of years saw inflows of funds to stock markets that were unparalleled in history. There are theories that in an elongated bear market or in terms of financial catastrophes, the correlation with the stock market might break. 

What does it mean when a whale sells?

Although, just looking at the on-chain data for the past three months shows that the number of whale wallets decreased by almost 10%. However, there has been a corresponding increase in wallets that own from 1 BTC to 1,000 BTC. The whales seem to be derisking their positions and the bigger retail investors have been accumulating in turn, providing liquidity to the whales. The historical trend shows that whenever this occurs, there will be a short-term decrease in Bitcoin prices which will eventually lead to whales starting to aggressively accumulate more. 

When asked about the very recent whale sell-off, Seth said:

“It’s almost inevitable that there will be some a period of a few weeks when the Whales will start selling. This is the mechanics of market movements. Currently, the broader market sentiment of Bitcoin is that the Bottom is in. There are sentiment analysis tools to confirm this. Some whales might be playing against this trend, in turn creating a bigger panic in the market. If there is a major sell-off now, Bitcoin prices might tank as the retail support will break. Only whales will have the liquidity to accumulate then.”

What the market can learn from Kabir’s point and the whales is that the future of Bitcoin is where one’s bet should be. Locally, the sentiments can be manipulated and the prices can be influenced. However, in the long run, when the dust settles, hodlers will prevail. 

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4 On-Chain Metrics Show the Bitcoin Price Is Primed for Bullish Explosion

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4 On-Chain Metrics Show the Bitcoin Price Is Primed for Bullish Explosion

Amid recent macroeconomic extremes, Bitcoin has maintained a quiet stance, almost eerie for its HODLers. Nonetheless, its hashrate and accumulation are soaring — what could this mean for its price?

Bitcoin has been consolidating in a narrow range between $18,800 and $20,200 since the mid-Sept price fall. In volatile markets like cryptocurrency, similar quiet periods of consolidation are rare. 

Recent Glassnode findings show that the current BTC price action resembles both pre-crash November 2018 and pre-rally March 2019. Despite price downturns, mining and accumulation statistics are improving. Let’s look into what this means for the health of the network.

Bitcoin hashrate makes new ATH 

Last week, the Bitcoin hashrate made a new all-time high of 242 exahashes per second.

Source: Glassnode

In the chart below, we can see that Bitcoin’s longer-term, slower hash ribbon was once again overtaken by the faster ribbon, indicating improved mining conditions in late August. Since the price saw no major uptick during this time, the rise in hashrate was likely due to more efficient mining hardware and more mining rigs working in general.

Source: Glassnode

Historically, these hash ribbon moving average swaps precede price gains. Historically, when the hash-rate drops and subsequently recovers, major BTC price bottoms have been made. 

Is a price bottom in?

Apart from the hashrate, Bitcoin accumulation levels also reached a 7-year high. CryptoQuant data shows that 6-month-old and older Bitcoins now make up 74% of the realized cap. During the 2019 and 2015 bottoms, this score sat at 70% and 77%, respectively.

Source: CryptoQuant 

Lastly, for the first time in this cycle, the percentage of supply in loss has reached the 50% level.

CryptoQuant data shows that the price bottoms during previous cycles normally occur when the percentage of supply in loss reaches 50% or more.

Source: CryptoQuant

The current data shows the highest percentage of losses at 52% on the daily chart, 50.4% on the weekly (7DMA), and 48% on the monthly (30DMA). 

While quite a few metrics suggest that BTC should be near a bottom, the overall momentum will likely still depend on macroeconomic conditions as well as its correlation with the Nasdaq and S&P 500. 

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Bitcoin price sees first October spike above $20K as daily gains hit 5%

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Bitcoin price sees first October spike above $20K as daily gains hit 5%

BTC price action sees a new October peak amid a declining U.S. dollar and a successful prior day’s trading for U.S. equities.

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Bitcoin price sees first October spike above K as daily gains hit 5%

Bitcoin (BTC) saw its first trip above $20,000 on Oct. 4 as traders expected familiar resistance to cap gains.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Multi-week dollar lows fuel Bitcoin bulls

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/United States dollar climbing prior to the Wall Street open, up over 5% in 24 hours.

The pair had shaken off macroeconomic concerns at the start of the week, with trouble at Credit Suisse and the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict failing to slow performance.

Now, the short-term analysis focused on a run potentially topping out closer to $21,000 — as was the case late last month, as sell-side pressure at that level remained significant.

“20500-21000 is a sell zone. If price gets there, which should, don’t be too bullish,” popular trader Il Capo of Crypto told Twitter followers on the day.

Razzoorn, an analyst at international trade group The Birb Nest, noted that the current charge was Bitcoin’s fifth attempt at escaping a major liquidity cloud in several weeks.

Despite the potentially limited upside opportunity, Bitcoin rallied in line with a broader risk asset tide which saw United States equities finish noticeably higher the day prior.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar suffered, the U.S. dollar index (DXY) extending losses to approach 111 points and threaten support in place since mid-September.

U.S. dollar index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingView

“Up the market goes,” a more optimistic Michaël van de Poppe, CEO and founder of trading platform Eight, continued:

“Flipping $19,500 for support. Now, if range-high at $19,600 holds for Bitcoin, I assume we’ll continue towards $22,400.”

Altcoins attempt to change sticky trend

Across major altcoins, it was Ether (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) leading daily performance at the time of writing. 

Related: CoinShares’ Butterfill suggests ’continued hesitancy’ among investors

ETH/USD traded above $1,350, still yet to break out of its sideways trend in place for several weeks since major losses entered during the post-Merge breakdown.

ETH/USD 1-day candle chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

XRP, on the other hand, faced a more stubborn band of resistance after prior gains, bouncing off multi-week support just below $0.45.

XRP/USD 1-day candle chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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McDonald’s starts to accept Bitcoin and Tether in Swiss town

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McDonald’s starts to accept Bitcoin and Tether in Swiss town

The global fast food chain is among the first to participate in a crypto-friendly experiment in the town of Lugano.

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McDonald’s starts to accept Bitcoin and Tether in Swiss town

Multinational fast food chain McDonald’s started to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method in the 63,000-populated city of Lugano in Italian Switzerland, which is becoming a hotspot for crypto adoption in Western Europe. 

A one-minute video of ordering food on McDonald’s digital kiosk and then paying for it at the regular register with the help of a mobile app was uploaded on Twitter by Bitcoin Magazine on Oct. 3. The Tether (USDT)  logo could be spotted next to the Bitcoin symbol on the credit cash machine, which is not surprising, as in March 2022 the city of Lugano announced it would accept Bitcoin, Tether and the LVGA token as a legal tender.

On March 3, 2022, the city signed a memorandum of understanding with Tether Operations Limited, launching the so-called “Plan B.” According to this plan, Tether has created two funds — the first one is a $106 million, or 100 million Swiss francs, investment pool for crypto startups, and the second is around $3 million, or 3 million Swiss francs, attempt to encourage the adoption of crypto for shops and businesses across the city.

In addition to allowing Lugano residents to pay their taxes using crypto, the project will extend payments to parking tickets, public services and tuition fees for students. More than 200 shops and businesses in the area are also expected to accept crypto payments for goods and services.

Related: Swiss Post’s banking arm developing in-house crypto custody platform

Speaking to Cointelegraph in June, Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of Tether and Bitfinex, claimed that Plan B “is going great,” announcing a two-week educational activity on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the city.

In September 2021 El Salvador became the first country in the world to allow using Bitcoin as a legal tender. Since that time, McDonald’s has been accepting Bitcoin at all its 19 outlets in the country.

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