2021 has been one of the most volatile years for the leading cryptocurrency in market capitalization – Bitcoin. This year alone, Bitcoin has set new records to hit an ATH of nearly $70,000, while in its lowest moments, it hit prices of just below $29,000. Despite the uncertainty of this market, many investors the world over are still confident in the crypto coin’s increasing value, which is why they still hold the coin in their wallets. Of course, some more than others.
What is a Bitcoin whale?
A BTC whale is an individual or institution that controls a large number of Bitcoins. Due to their large market share, they are capable of causing significant price moves for the coin through the trades they make. As of 2017, around 1,000 people controlled 40% of the global BTC supply. Since then, a lot more coins have been mined, so their influence may have waned a little. However, there are still large whales whose trade effects reverberate throughout the BTC market.
Whales to watch in 2022
The Winklevoss twins
If you’ve watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you may have heard of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s dispute with Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook (now Meta)’s creation. This dispute ended in a $65 million settlement in their favor. These twins were also participants in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they finished sixth in the men’s pairs rowing.
The beginning of their BTC journey dates back to 2012. By 2013, they were estimated to own about $11 million worth of Bitcoin, and rumors flew that they held 1% of the total BTC supply at the time. In 2013, they were involved in BitInstant, one of the first BTC exchanges in the US. Unfortunately, the exchange shut down in 2018 after its founder was found guilty of fraud, after which the twins sued him. That dispute ended in an undisclosed settlement the following year.
In 2014, they founded their own crypto exchange platform named Gemini, which is one of the more reputable exchanges in the US to date. These brothers are also involved in NFT projects and BlockFi, a crypto lender based in the US. Later this year, they are set to launch the first-ever crypto credit cards, which are going to increase their fortune if they achieve success.
Matthew Roszak began his Bitcoin journey back in 2012. To date, he owns Bloq, a blockchain startup he founded that helps institutions deal in crypto assets. Bloq also helps companies that deal in stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies. His net worth is currently sitting pretty at $1.5 billion.
Before venturing into Bitcoin, he worked as a venture capitalist. In 2006, he was charged with insider trading after purchasing Blue Rhino stocks, a propane tank company. He settled the same year. Recently, Matthew made headlines for spearheading an initiative to give each member of Congress $50 in crypto assets, which was met with ambivalence.
During the Mt. Gox hack of 2014, Tim Draper was one of the worst-hit victims, losing the entirety of his Bitcoin investments. He had earlier bought coins worth $250,000 when the price of one BTC was just $6. However, this did not faze him.
The same year he was hacked, he bought nearly 32,000 BTC that had been seized by the US Marshals from the black-market website dubbed Silk Road. At the time, the coins were worth around $600 apiece. To date, he claims to be invested in more than 50 crypto-related companies, among them Coinbase, Ledger, and Tezos.
Mike is one of the most famed bulls on the Bitcoin market. His fame can be traced back to a 2018 YouTube video, which bore the title Bitcoin Please Go to Moon. Forbes estimates his net worth to be anywhere between $700 million and $1 billion. It is estimated that half of that is in crypto assets.
Novogratz served as the head of a macro fund at Fortress Investment Group and was also its president before he exited the firm in 2015. It is reported that upon his exit, he received a $255.6 million severance package. Today, he is the CEO of Galaxy Digital, an investment firm centered around cryptocurrencies.
Commonly referred to as just CZ, Zhao is the CEO of Binance, the largest crypto exchange globally. By 2020, Binance was recording trading volumes north of $2 trillion. Today, the Binance Coin (BNB) is the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. The coin boasts a whopping $96 trillion in market capitalization. His net worth is estimated to be at $2 billion, and he claims to only hold Bitcoin and BNB assets.
Ver is one of the most popular Bitcoin advocates, which earned him the self-proclaimed nickname Bitcoin Jesus. He first made headlines when he tried to sell explosives on eBay, which earned him a 10-month prison sentence.
His Bitcoin journey began back in 2011. Since then, he has been involved in various startups, including blockchain.com, Kraken, and Ripple. He was Bitcoin.com’s CEO until 2019 when he was made the executive chairman. He now majorly promotes Bitcoin Cash. His net worth is estimated to be anywhere between $430 million to $520 million.
Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has seen exponential growth, culminating in a $69,000 ATH reached in November 2021. To date, it is the leading cryptocurrency in market capitalization. There are several investors who hold huge amounts of Bitcoins in circulation. They are referred to as whales, and they are characterized by their ability to move the market with their high-volume trades. In 2017, it was estimated that 1000 whales held 40% of the total BTC supply. Due to mining, that number may have changed, but the influence of whales is still felt to date.