Is the Tokyo Whale Planning His Next Big Move?

Roughly 16,000 units of bitcoin were transferred from the Mt Gox wallet this week, igniting speculation that the ‘Tokyo Whale’ was planning his next fire sale.

Mt Gox Liquidation

The CryptoGround monitoring service reported Thursday that nearly $141 million worth of BTC was transferred out of a wallet associated with the now defunct Mt Gox, once the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The motivation for the transaction is not clear but there’s strong reason to believe that the trustee in charge of liquidating Mt Gox is planning his next sell order.

According to Twitter account associated with CryptoGround, it is unclear whether the coins have been sold.

“Looks like 16k BTC from Mt Gox were consolidated to this address We obviously don’t know if they were sold or just moved for some other reason,” tweeted Alistair Milne, a bitcoin entrepreneur.

Nobuaki Kobayashi, the so-called Tokyo Whale, has been tasked with offloading all remaining assets associated with Mt Gox. The trustee has already sold $400 million worth of bitcoin and bitcoin cash since September. Roughly $1.9 billion worth of digital currency remains to be sold.

Whale Sightings and Market Prices

Cryptocurrency traders are naturally curious about Kobayashi’s ongoing efforts to liquidate wallets linked to Mt Gox. The fear is that oversized sell orders could spark a sharp decline in bitcoin’s market value, making the digital currency harder to evaluate.

According to analysts, Kobayashi may have been partially responsible for the market’s sharp downturn on Wednesday. However, this has not yet been confirmed.

Bitcoin’s multi-week rally has prompted several sell orders from some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency wallets. Last week, whales unloaded a combined $100 million in BTC after the digital currency skyrocketed above $8,000. Bitcoin’s third-biggest wallet offloaded 6,600 units of the digital currency last week, followed by a sell order of 6,500 for anonymous wallet 3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r.

While the trades were associated with a sizable drop in prices, bitcoin quickly regained momentum en route to fresh highs above $9,000. The digital currency briefly returned to those levels on Thursday before consolidating around $8,900 on the major exchanges.

Interestingly, the trade that ignited bitcoin’s bullish reversal may have been placed by a whale, or a large institutional investor. Bitcoin prices first crossed $7,000 on Bitfinex before the rally extended to other exchanges.

The cryptocurrency market peaked at $437 billion earlier this week, having gained roughly $188 billion from the Apr. 6 swing low.

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