A key benefit of blockchain technology is transparency. Everything that occurs on the chain is visible and publicly accessible, allowing anyone, anywhere, at any time, to access and analyze it. This unlocks a new paradigm in trading and investing. You’re able to monitor trades and transactions of anyone in real-time, including those made by the most influential investors or crypto whales. Savvy investors often leverage this transparency to refine their trading strategies and be early adopters of new projects.
In this article, we will explore what crypto whales are, how to find their wallets, and track what they’re buying so that you can maximize your returns.
What are crypto whales?
Crypto whales are individuals or institutions that hold large amounts cryptocurrencies. While there is no set threshold for becoming a “whale”, these entities often hold a significant portion of the total coins in circulation of an asset. These whales are often sophisticated market participants and have a history of being profitable traders.
Why track the top crypto whales?
As a crypto investor, finding your next profitable trade can be challenging. Tracking crypto whales can help you identify potential market trends and study successful investment strategies.
Whales typically have the power to influence crypto markets due to their sizeable holdings. Informed market participants often follow whale activities, assuming they have insider knowledge or significant market insight. Their actions, combined with whale movements, can trigger a domino effect, with other traders following suit. Being early to large movements allows you to make the most returns. This is one of the primary reasons to track crypto whales.
For instance, you could get early signals by monitoring whale activities and can time your entries and exits on coins accordingly. Further, if many popular whales take an interest in a specific project, you can assume market enthusiasm for the asset.
Consider OLAS, an AI crypto project, as an example. We identified Smart Money addresses accumulating it while featuring our new tool, Signals, in our Office Hours live stream. Subsequently, the token experienced a 3x increase, soaring from $2.39 to a peak of $8.47, all within just a few weeks.
However, it’s important to be cautious if a project has too many whales. Since whales can manipulate coin prices, a project with too many whales can be extremely volatile. Therefore, while making a crypto investment strategy, tracking the top crypto whales gives you an edge over the average retail participant.
Who exactly are the top crypto whales?
It’s important to realize that not all whales are created equal. Some could simply have large balances but are historically unprofitable or have low returns on their investments. Some could be cryptocurrency exchanges holding crypto assets on behalf of their customers. Tracking these wallets might not give helpful insights for investors with smaller-sized portfolios.
Instead, a better option would be to use a crypto analytics platform like Nansen and look for whales with an extensive history of making profitable trades. These investments typically tend to be in more smaller projects or tokens that have yet to gain traction.
In other words, you need to follow Smart Money wallets that are hugely profitable at what they do. Smart Money gives you clearer signals and consistent patterns — making it easy to understand their strategies or copy their trades with greater success.
So, how do you find these smart whales?
How to find crypto whale wallets?
Discovering crypto whale wallets requires a thorough exploration of blockchain data, strategic investigative work, and vigilant monitoring, commonly known as onchain analysis. In this section, we’ll go over the top three ways you can find whale wallets.
Top holders of tokens you’re interested in
One of the first aspects to analyze before investing in a cryptocurrency is its token distribution, which refers to the spread of the cryptocurrency among its holders. Thanks to the public nature of blockchain data, it's straightforward to identify the top holders of any cryptocurrency of interest.
By using Nansen, you’re able to efficiently and thoroughly analyze these significant holders,. Simply use CMD + K to search for any token. Nansen provides in-depth insights into various tokens, enabling you to examine crucial onchain metrics before ape-ing in. Access data points like the wallets of buying and selling the token, top transactions, and Smart Money trends, all at your fingertips.
In addition to identifying the top holders, you can observe how their token balances have evolved over time. This insight helps gauge the sentiment and interest that prominent investors, or whales, have in the token. Such analysis can illuminate the activities of large wallets to monitor, early investor behaviors, and potential staking opportunities.
Another approach involves examining the Smart Money wallets with the largest holdings. These wallets are usually operated by sophisticated entities like trading firms or highly profitable individuals.
Curating your own alpha list
Crypto narratives often move in waves, with multiple tokens trending simultaneously. To effectively follow these trends, it's beneficial to focus not only on wallets holding large amounts of a single token but also on those with diverse holdings in several trending tokens. Identifying these wallets is key to spotting early opportunities and securing successful trades. Nansen's Smart Segments tool enables you to quickly identify and label these wallets.
Smart Segments automatically identifies Ethereum addresses that meet your specified criteria, labeling them for easy tracking. The list it generates is dynamic and constantly updates to ensure it remains current.
These labels are displayed across various Nansen dashboards where the wallets are featured. To actively monitor these wallets, add them to your watchlist and analyze their activities using the Nansen Profiler. For paying users, Nansen offers aggregated views of the onchain activities of the entire segment, simplifying analysis and decision-making.
What whales are holding, buying, and selling
Tracking Smart Money can be instrumental in identifying upcoming trends and understanding the activity of top market participants. An effective method to discover trending tokens among Smart Money wallets is through Nansen’s Smart Money dashboard.
The Smart Money token holdings dashboard provides an overview of tokens that have seen the most significant changes in Smart Money balances. It also displays the number of smart wallet addresses holding each token, offering a glimpse into the token's popularity. This information serves as a valuable starting point for exploring tokens that may be worth further investigation.
The DEX Trades tab provides both an aggregated view of the tokens that Smart Money wallets are buying and selling, as well as a live view of the DEX trades they are executing.
An important thing to note is that tracking Smart Money isn’t a one-size fits all process. Your own trading strategies will influence the tokens and metrics you focus on. For example, private sale investors may look at different tokens and metrics compared to airdrop hunters when identifying a trending token.
How to analyze and track crypto whale activity?
Once you’ve identified the top whales from the above methods, it is time to set up a system to track them. Tracking them will help you analyze their patterns and strategies, such as trade timing, the type of coins they trade, risk management, and response to market conditions.
You can analyze and track crypto whale activity directly on the blockchain via tools like block explorers such as Etherscan or major data analytics platforms like Nansen. Block explorers typically focus on raw blockchain data and individual transactions, while data analytics platforms aggregate and analyze to produce actionable insights.
Let’s look at how these two methods differ and how you can use them.
Block Explorers - Native Analytics for Blockchains
Block explorers, as the name suggests, allow you to “explore” the blockchain. You can access historical and real-time transactions, wallet balances, block history etc, on a particular blockchain through a block explorer. Popular explorers include Etherscan for Ethereum and SolanaFM for Solana.
While block explorers are useful while tracking whales, they have their limitations. One of the key issues with block explorers is limited label coverage. Without labels, you’re unable to know the identity or nature of the wallet.
This leaves that investigative work to you, having to dig through a lot of historical data to identify the important whale transactions. This is extremely time consuming and can be very challenging without the right expertise. It can also be hard to understand the nature and context of the overall whale activity. Plus, if a crypto whale has multiple wallets (and they often do), identifying, linking, and tracking them can become a significant time drain. With millions of transactions and addresses, tracking crypto wallets can be tough. This is where blockchain analytics platforms shine.
Unlock deeper insights using Nansen
Going beyond data aggregation, Nansen enriches onchain data with wallet address labels. This gives users a deeper understanding of what’s happening and makes it easier to find, track and analyze crypto whales.
One of the most popular features of Nansen, Wallet Profiler, offers you an in-depth view of a wallet’s activity and current holdings. You can simply search for any entity, ENS, or any of the address that you’ve discovered earlier and get a view of detailed onchain data points that truly matter.
Nansen Smart Alerts
Crypto investing requires constant monitoring — keeping a track of market trends, asset prices, macro impacts, and, notably, whale activities. The quicker you can interpret and act on signals from whale activities, the higher your chances of executing successful trades.
With Nansen Alerts, you spot investment opportunities as soon as they happen. Nansen’s smart alert feature allows you to stay on top of whale movements efficiently without remaining glued to your screen. You’re able to set up alerts on specific wallets, entities, labels, tokens and even NFTs.
Whenever a transaction occurs that fit your criteria, Nansen's Smart Alert feature promptly sends you a notification through your preferred communication channel — Telegram, Discord, or Slack.
Watch the whales with Nansen
In crypto, knowledge is power, and understanding Smart Money movements can be an invaluable advantage. Understanding the dynamics behind price movements is fundamental to trading cryptocurrencies. And whales are a key piece of the puzzle.
Tracking crypto whales can help you contextualize and understand market movements and make an informed investment plan. Data points from crypto whales, fundamental analysis, and other indicators can give you unique insights into the market. Tools like Nansen help you effectively navigate through these complex data points and track Smart Money easily.