Bitcoin Prices and Whale Sightings: Evaluating the Latest Trends

Bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed 20% over the past eight days, but some say the upward trajectory isn’t as linear as it should be given the length of the most recent correction. The market’s sudden gyrations have left us with only one explanation: the bitcoin whales are back.

Whale Spotting

It has been reported that the so-called bitcoin whales (those who hold oversized positions in the digital asset) dumped $100 million worth of BTC in less than 24 hours. For example, the anonymous balance of wallet 3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r declined by 6,500 BTC on Tuesday, which is equivalent to $50 million. As a result, bitcoin fell more than $200 on the major exchanges in just a few minutes.

Just one day earlier, bitcoin’s third-biggest wallet shed 6,600 units of the virtual currency at an average price of around $8,026.

Interestingly, a whale may have been responsible for the initial spike in BTC just one week ago. As we reported, a large order on Bitfinex triggered the initial spike in BTC as prices crossed $7,000 on the exchange. For the next two days, bitcoin would surge double-digits to breach $8,000 for the first time since late March.

Investors are also keeping tabs on a high-profile whale based out of Tokyo, Japan. Nobuaki Kobayashi is in the process of liquidating billions of dollars on behalf of Mt Gox creditors. At last check, the trustee had sold about $400 million in bitcoin for an average sales price of $10,105. He’s expected to offload another $1.9 billion.

Speculation Grows

While advocates of bitcoin’s long-term value have barely flinched amid the latest downturn, speculators all but disappeared from the market. A simple analysis of Google search trends also reveals that laypeople have been losing interest in digital currencies since early February.

All that could be changing.

Cryptocurrencies have added nearly $100 billion to their market cap over the past week, with bitcoin doing much of the work. This appears to have compelled bitcoin’s large owners to sell their assets for reasons that are not yet unclear.

Of course, the multiple selloffs could just be coincidence or a bet that future prices will fall again. In the eyes of leading analysts, the latter appears to be less likely.

The head of Pantera Capital, who rarely predicts bitcoin’s future and is thus never wrong when he does, recently told clients that the digital currency has already bottomed. Appearing on CNBC’s Fast Money, Dan Morehead said bitcoin’s bear market was just about over and that prices would continue rising from here on.

That said, choppy trading for bitcoin is hardly unusual and has come to be expected in a market that still lacks maturity. Whales or not, recent moves have made it harder to gauge the strength of the recovery.

That’s the message Thomas Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors recently shared, according to Bloomberg.

“I think it feels off right now because, you know, we’ve been on a down trend since December, and now, even though the volatility hasn’t changed much, it’s hard to tell if bitcoin is trying to stage a recovery or if it’s continuing its down trend,” he said.

At the time of writing, bitcoin was valued at $8,175, having gained 3% over the past 24 hours.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi