In brief

  • The number of Bitcoin whales has hit an all time-high.
  • That's according to Glassnode, which labels anyone with at least 1,000 Bitcoin a whale.
  • Whales have the potential to shape the market.

The number of Bitcoin “whales” today hit an all-time high, data from metrics site Glassnode shows.

Whales are investors so rich that trades they place can push prices up or down. Glassnode defines Bitcoin whales as entities (people or organizations Glassnode believes owns some cluster of wallets) that hold at least 1,000 Bitcoin, currently worth $19 million.


Per Glassnode, there are just under 2,000 Bitcoin whales, as of this writing. The last time there were so many whales was in June 2016, a year before the Bitcoin bull run of 2017.

Earlier this week, a report from Bitcoin analytics company Santiment found that the number of wallets holding at least 10,000 BTC were also at yearly highs.

Bitcoin fanatics have long clamored for institutional investors and whales. Their battle cry is, of course, inexhaustible—who determines when institutional investors have finally arrived? 

As the wails continued, institutions and rich investors responded one by one. 

Billionaire investors like Stanley Druckenmiller and Ricardo Salinas Pliego are among the prominent investors in Bitcoin. MicroStrategy bought up $450 million in Bitcoin this summer. Its CEO, Michael Saylor, considers Bitcoin “a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom.” 


And large companies now offer Bitcoin to their customers. PayPal recently rolled out crypto services to US customers, Robinhood offers commission-free crypto trading, and Square’s Cash App sells crypto to its users.

To service their growing customers, large institutions like Grayscale (a crypto investment firm), Square, and PayPal buy up all of the new Bitcoin to ensure their customers have enough supply. 

But if a small number of companies hold most of the Bitcoin, the distributed network could become a little top-heavy.

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