In the world of bitcoin often discuss the mysterious “whale”, that is, investors holding huge amounts of cryptocurrency. Now, thanks to a new cryptanalytic research firm Chainalysis, we learned a lot about who they are and how they affect the market.

The study focused on 32 of the largest whale, the combined state which is just over 1 million bitcoin — of the 17 million kamineni today. The smallest “kit” holds about 12 thousand bitcoins, and the biggest is 85 thousand bitcoins. At current prices it’s about 75 and $ 541 million, respectively.

As shown in the diagram, 32 “China” was divided into four categories, one of which is “criminal” — it includes three “pillars” that have made the state a few years ago when bitcoin was known mainly as a currency for illegal operations. Chainalysis suspects that one of these “whales” is in prison.

However, investors are probably more interested in the category of “traders”, consisting of nine users that entered the market in 2017 and actively traded cryptocurrency. According to the economist Chainalysis Kim Grauer (and contrary to popular view), these “whales” basically act as buyers when the cryptocurrency drops, and there is no evidence that they work together.

Thus, the widespread belief that “whales” manipulating the prices, not confirmed. It is also seen that traders among the “whales” are relatively few — incidentally, three of them operate only on Asian markets. Grower, said that many bitcoin wallets, which are featured in the “rich list” on the Internet and become the subject of discussion by the fans, do not have to “whales” nothing is wallets of exchanges and other commercial associations.

Two other categories of whales is even smaller. There are miners who have amassed a lot of bitcoins when mining was easy and inexpensive (though perhaps they got them some other way) — Chainalysis say that these users sell part of its reserves, but rarely in the long term this group tend to keep their assets.

Five “lost whales” — people who in the early period of the existence of the network have accumulated a lot of bitcoins, but then either died or lost the keys — judging by the complete lack of activity in the wallet. Chainalysis study showed that the lost almost 4 million bitcoins with a total of 21 million coins.

To highlight the “whales” in Chainalysis not just found the biggest purses — the researchers used what they call, “analysis of joint expenses,” which allowed us to find clusters of wallets, presumably belonging to one person.

Grayer said that this study has an important limitation: it must be assumed that some “whales” are smart enough to avoid actions that could be construed as “joint costs”.

In addition, the study does not appear the biggest “whale”: the founder of bitcoin, known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. His condition spread across many wallets, is more than 1 million bitcoins, and Chainalysis guess they are lost forever.

What conclusions can we draw? We tend to overstate market power “whales”. 32 the biggest “whale” control about 6% of the offers of cryptocurrency, and if you subtract out the lost coin, this figure will fall to 4.6%. It is also important that only a few of these “whales” exhibit the regular activity and when they function, they are more likely to support the price of bitcoin than to reduce it.

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