Meaning of an “Ethereum Whale”
First, what is an “Ethereum whale”, and why are they referred to as whales?
Ethereum whale is a term used to refer to people who hold very high values of Ethereum. Comparing them to whales is due to their massive influence on the Ethereum market. These individuals could impact the coin value and Ethereum price predictions by selling or moving large sums of Ethereum. Specifically, the “whale” analogy comes from the impact of the movement of whales under the sea, which often affects their immediate physical surroundings in some way.
Since its inception, Ethereum has been one of the most valuable digital currencies on the market. In July 2022, the Ethereum market cap had risen to over $130,357,854,104, trading at about $1,072. Compared to its trading rate as of January 2016, which was $1, there has been astronomical growth in Ethereum’s value, exceeding early expectations and shattering Ethereum price predictions almost every time. As a result, anyone who purchased Ethereum at its early stages would have made massive profits by 2022 or at least had their ETH coins multiplied a thousand-fold. These individuals are the “Ethereum whales”, and we have quite a number of them.
Who Owns the Most Ethereum?
Figuring out the single, definitive answer to this is quite challenging. Not every whale reveals their Ethereum balance to the general public, which makes it impossible to compare and determine who owns more ETH. Regardless of the market condition or future Ethereum price predictions, many ETH “whales” would rather keep a low profile. This approach is often for security purposes, among others.
When you notice accounts that hold large amounts of Ethereum, they often bear names related to cryptocurrency exchange platforms, such as Kraken and Binance. This naming is because a lot of Ethereum is stored on these platforms. Therefore, it is more likely that the “Kraken” and “Binance” name tags that seem to hold large ETH amounts are not individuals but the platforms themselves. When it comes to individuals, however, the first person who draws attention is Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum. So naturally, one expects Buterin to hold a good amount of Ethereum in his wallet, being one of the founders of Ethereum in 2015.
Although he co-created the platform, Buterin is almost certainly not the biggest holder of Ethereum (or the giant whale, as many would say). While he undoubtedly holds a sizable amount of ETH, many other holders likely own more Ethereum. After Buterin declared his Ethereum assets in October 2018, market analysts and Ethereum enthusiasts actively followed his ETH transactions.
The amount currently held at his ETH address is roughly 1.366 ETH. At some point, Buterin had transferred 325,000 ETH into a new contract, which has now been reduced to about $290,000.9 ETH. The decrease is a result of the donation of over 16,000 ETH and several of his meme coins to charity (the donation amounts to over $ 1 billion). Therefore, while Buterin may still be a whale, he is not the person with the most Ethereum. Till date, no one has still been identified to hold the most Ethereum, and the search goes on.
Why the Difficulty?
The truth is, searching for the person who holds the most Ethereum will likely continue for several reasons:
- Many holders of ETH diversify their portfolios by holding multiple wallets. Unfortunately, this makes it challenging to match all wallets to their owners.
- It may also prove difficult to track the real-time ETH owned by every single “Ethereum whale”, given their number. However, as reported by Bloomberg, about 376 individuals hold one-third of the entire ETH in circulation.
- There are many anonymously owned ETH wallets. Therefore, even if analysts determine the most valuable wallet, identifying its owner is still challenging.
- Transactions happen all the time, and holders constantly dispose of their coins, making it practically impossible to have a stable “largest whale” for an extended period.
- Some people do not want to be found and will take every possible step to ensure their identities remain hidden.
Perhaps in the future, an individual will be identified as the holder of the most Ethereum. Also, at the rate of Ethereum’s development, perhaps there will eventually be a metric to determine the worth of all ETH holders. In the meantime, however, let us all keep up with Ethereum price predictions, trade the valuable currency, and make a bit of profit along the way.