A cryptocurrency whale has moved a groin-thumping Bitcoin fortune worth $468.5 million — and they paid just a few hundred bucks for the pleasure.
🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 49,756 #BTC (468,491,827 USD) transferred from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) July 29, 2019
The Bitcoin network charged just $374.98 to facilitate the transfer, demanded no identity documentation or permission, and asked minimal trust.
Four hundred dollars is certainly higher than some of the fees recently paid by other whales, but still significantly lower than costs associated with traditional finance.
Let’s compare Bitcoin with a million dollars via TransferWise
Bitcoin’s fee structure is different, as the user is afforded power to set transaction fees themselves, rather than the bank. If it’s easier, think of Bitcoin fees as “bids” that miners accept or reject.
If users set a high fee, Bitcoin miners are likely to confirm transfers relatively quickly, as they typically choose transactions by comparing their fees with others in the “mempool” (as well as a few other factors).
Select a fee too low, however, and miners are less likely to prioritize the payment, which can drag the transaction process out significantly.
TransferWise has become a standard alternative to international remittances via big banks. Unlike Bitcoin, this service has a million-dollar limit on money transfers, so already it’s rather useless for moving $468 million at once.
Using TransferWise, it would cost more than $3,600 to send just $1 million from the US to the Eurozone, a fee that’s likely inflated by converting between currencies (because fiat is clumsy like that).
If we scale that cost to the amount of Bitcoin sent by today’s whale, we see that TransferWise would’ve charged $1,684,800 to send $468 million, as opposed to under $400.
And they say Bitcoin transactions are expensive…
Update 17:55 UTC, July 29: Since this article was published, it appears the same whale has continued to play around with their Bitcoin stash.
Twitter-based transaction monitor @whale_alert recently signalled three additional transfers, each one for roughly $450 million worth of Bitcoin. Every transfer’s recipient has been tagged with the same name: “Unknown Owner 26.”
Each transaction in this latest batch cost around $440 in fees. Many other (smaller) transfers sent from “Unknown Owner 26” were also detected recently.
Hey Bitcoin whale, if you’re out there.