If 2020 was the year cryptocurrency established itself as a financial superpower, 2021 is so far shaping up to be the year in which it is now abundantly clear that it’s here to stay. Since the start of the year, cryptocurrency investors and advocates have been able to enjoy positive news stories such as Elon Musk announcing that it will soon be possible to buy Tesla cars with Bitcoin and Blockchain.com reaching a valuation of over $5 billion. The good news is seemingly never ending, this week it was announced that one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, recently celebrated a 24 hour bitcoin withdrawal total of almost $1billion.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are the websites used to buy, sell and hold different cryptocurrencies, there are thousands of different exchanges which all offer more or less the same services. Variation can be found in the different fees charged for transactions and withdrawals, as well as the different purchase and withdrawals methods each exchange offers. Founded in 2012, Coinbase has risen astronomically both in terms of success, and reputation in the nine years since, the site was recently valued at $68 billion. One of the reasons for this is it’s age alone, which is often seen as a sign of quality, while its user-friendly interface and dynamic but fair fees are also partly responsible for Coinbase’s ever growing reputation and quality. The site’s early policy of only trading Bitcoin (which has now changed), rather than instantly expanding to accept other cryptocurrencies, allowed it to quickly become one of the most trusted platforms for Bitcoin trading, which has led to this latest development.
Crptyoquant.com, one of the leading cryptocurrency analysis websites, reported that nearly 15,000 Bitcoin left Coinbase in 24 hours, which equates to around $865 million. Although this announcement can be seen as evidence of the consistent growth of the site’s user base, closer inspection suggests something else could be at play. Glassnode.com, specialists in making blockchain information accessible and comprehensible for the masses, recently reported that only around a third of all Bitcoin has moved in the last 6 months. When we consider the magnitude of this week’s withdrawal total announcement and compare it with previous movement highs of over 50%, it’s clear that it is not just the growing user base that is responsible for the astonishing numbers. Another leading analysis platform, Whale Alert, recently reported a withdrawal of over 4,000 Bitcoin from coinbase, which equates to a whopping $230 million. Despite the fact that such astonishing amounts of money being exchanged in single transactions is inevitably good news for current and future investors, when combined with the fact that smaller quantities of bitcoin are being traded, it suggests the involvement of whales.
Cryptocurrency whales are people or entities who buy, sell and hold large quantities in order to make greater profits. Their strategies usually involve buying large amounts of a given cryptocurrency, holding onto it while it’s value increases, before then selling it for much more than they paid for it, thus making big profit. The identities of whales can range from well known business tycoons to private entity investors, while anonymous investors also regularly purchase whale-like quantities of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In February of this year over $200 million worth of Ripple (XRP) was purchased by a single entity in a move which raised the value of the cryptocurrency immensely. Such transactions are believed to have helped raise the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, so while we can certainly expect them to continue, it’s important for new investors to research the reasons for a cryptocurrency’s value rising before investing.