David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat. David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat.
There’s no doubt the 2018 bear market has been rough, but some cryptocurrency traders have been taking advantage. Actively trading whales have accumulated more Ethereum this year than at any other time in its history.
Blockchain research unit Diar analysed more than 5,200 Ethereum addresses to discover cryptocurrency whales who trade regularly are sitting on 80 percent more ETH than the start of the year.
In fact, these whales now own over 20 million ETH ($2.2 billion), roughly 20 percent of Ethereum’s circulating supply. This represents a four-fold increase in ETH held by top cryptocurrencers since January 2017, when they owned just 5 million ETH.
Token market collapse leads to exchange activity
Diar analysts attribute the collapse of cryptocurrency token markets as the primary driving force behind the sudden hoarding of Ethereum.
As an overwhelming majority of tokens are paired with ETH, it makes sense that exiting these markets leads to holding onto Ethereum instead.
Another effect is that Ethereum addresses belonging to cryptocurrency exchanges saw increased activity from Ethereum traders in November, particularly in the last two weeks.
In total, last month saw traders withdraw approximately $470,000 worth of ETH from top exchanges, while overall deposits exceeded 16 million ETH ($1.8 billion).
But “new money” from fresh-faced blockchain investors isn’t really responsible for the increased deposits.
Instead, Diar pointed out there are now 30 percent less Ethereum whales than in January. This means a more concentrated group of cryptocurrency investors is holding considerably more ETH than previous years.
ETH balances go up, value goes down
While the ETH balances of whales has certainly increased, the total value of those Ethereum accounts has dwindled.
At the start of the year, these whales controlled roughly 11 million ETH, worth $21 billion at the time.
Even though they own 80 percent more ETH, the total sum of whale holdings now reaches just $2.4 billion – an 89-percent drop in overall value since the end of January.
More ETH goes into whale addresses than comes out
It’s not all super bad news. The total net balance of deposits and withdrawals for the top Ethereum addresses is actually positive for the year.
Diar analysts concluded that roughly $1 billion has flowed into Ethereum whale wallets in 2018 and stayed there, with ETH received by whale addresses outweighing the ETH sent out out of them.
Over the past two months, top Ethereum addresses witnessed a 270 percent increase in ETH balances against the previous quarter. This is reportedly the first time this has been seen in almost two years.
But again, the firm noted this isn’t exactly indicative of new money pouring into Ethereum-based markets. Instead, it appears the funds are really being directed to the cryptocurrency whales. Typical.
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