DEFINITION of 'Bitcoin Whale'

A bitcoin whale is term in the cryptocurrency world used to refer to individuals or entities that hold large amounts of bitcoin.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bitcoin Whale'

From the point of view of blockchain and its core decentralized feature, bitcoin whales cause concern, as the situation could lead to a small number of people having controlling power over the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin whales could also have a disproportionate impact on prices, fueling speculation that some of BTC's recent wild price swings were due to price manipulation by the whales. (See also: Anonymous Cryptocurrency Trader Buys $400 Million in Bitcoin.)

Bloomberg reports that around December 2017, about 40 percent of bitcoins were held by around 1,000 individuals. (See also: Why Is South Korea So Important to Bitcoin Prices?)

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