The key is that a whale can influence the price of the asset due to the size of the holdings. This is based upon the ownership as a percentage of the whole. It means there is no standard for a whale across different companies (stocks) or cryptocurrency.
Some whales in the stock market are:
When either of these starts to sell some of their holdings, the market reacts negatively.
Cryptocurrency was the rise of the whales.
The reason for this is due to the fact that so many new assets were created, all in a relatively short period of time.
It is also a system outside Wall Street meaning that the assets were brought to market without going through financial institutions. In the TradFi, the whales tend to be venture capital (VC) firms, founders, and brokerage firms or hedge funds who are given stakes before the company goes public.
With cryptocurrency, the founders tend to be whales. This sheer number of projects that came out have created a large number of whales in total.
The Satoshi Nakamoto wallets are the best example of a whale. Even though Nakamoto is anonymous, the coins in the wallet are available for all to see. This Bitcoin was acquired through the early mining process. Whoever has the keys could seriously affect the market.
Investors And Whales
Investors pay close attention to whales for a number of reasons.
Whales have the ability to add a lot to or remove a great number of coins from the market. The same is true if a large shareholder is in a buy and hold mode. Warren Buffett is known for taking large positions and holding the stock for a long time.
Another reason for investors to watch the whales is their impact on price. When they add or remove a portion of liquidity, that tends to be reflected by the market in the price. Investors will often try to jump ahead of whales to enjoy the leverage provided by their massive moves.