A Bearwhale is a term in the cryptocurrency market referring to a trader or investor who holds a large quantity of cryptocurrencies and is bearish on the market, meaning they believe the price will fall. This individual uses their substantial holdings to influence the market, often by selling large amounts of cryptocurrency in a short period. This action can significantly drive down the market price, potentially allowing the Bearwhale to profit from the decline.
The term gained prominence from an incident in 2014 involving a Bitcoin trader known as “BearWhale.” This trader attempted to sell 30,000 Bitcoins at a rate of $300 per coin, totaling $9 million. The sale, placed through the Bitstamp exchange, was so large that it temporarily distorted the Bitcoin market, creating a barrier that stalled the price of Bitcoin at $300 for several hours while the entire block of 30,000 Bitcoins was gradually sold off. This incident exemplifies the market influence that a Bearwhale can exert, especially in less liquid or more volatile segments of the cryptocurrency market.