www.coindesk.com 2 h Reading time: ~3 m
Wallets holding large amounts of bitcoin (BTC), that saw no activity for several years are suddenly showing signs of life, sparking conversations on Crypto Twitter about the possible reasons behind such moves.
Whale, a colloquial term used in crypto circles, refers to holders of large amounts of any tokens. Due to the size of their holdings whales can influence the price or sentiment around a token.
One such wallet, which was last active in 2012, moved over 400 bitcoin ($11 million) over the weekend, data shows. The bitcoin whale moved 360 bitcoin to one wallet, and 40 bitcoin to other wallets. The whale had purchased some 900 bitcoin in 2012, holding on to the asset ever since and seeing a nearly 40,000% gain on the initial investment.
The movement comes on the back of several other whales moving large quantities of bitcoin and ether (BTC) in the past few weeks.
Another whale wallet moved some 279 bitcoin earlier in April after over ten years of inactivity. The whale received 1,128 bitcoin between 2012 and 2013 when the price fluctuated between $12 and $195 – with the holdings valued at $31 million at the time of writing.
Ether holders are moving their tokens too. Last week, a participant in the ether initial coin offering (ICO) moved 1 ether (ETH) to another wallet after eight years of inactivity. The wallet holds over 2,356 ether – purchased at 31 cents apiece in the ICO – valued at over $4 million.
The identities of these whales are unknown, and none of them have communicated the reason behind their moves using any on-chain messages.
The silence has spurred speculations for the moves from Crypto Twitter, with reasons ranging from developers of the dark web site Silk Road getting access to their wallets to insiders in the know moving tokens ahead of bad news. With some even speculating that their wallet passwords have been cracked.
“We’re now at waay too many 10+ year wallets springing to life on multiple assets all of a sudden,” said CEHV partner Adam Cochrane on Twitter. “Unless these wallets are somehow related to Mt Gox cold storage, then some old wallet generator has to have been cracked.”
Cochrane’s reasoning may not be fully improprable, as old wallets have repeatedly been the target for hackers and online thieves.
Earlier this month, Taylor Monahan, founder of Ethereum services provider MyCrypto, flagged a massive “wallet draining operation” that seemed to affect whales and early holders of ether.
Mohanan estimated over 5,000 ether were drained from such wallets in the sophisticated attack. “My best guess is that someone has got themselves a fatty cache of data from 1 plus yr ago & is methodically draining the keys as they parse them from the treasure trove,” she tweeted at the time.
Such security concerns may have prompted the recent movement of bitcoin in whale wallets. But for now, everyone’s only guessing.