It would seem that the top actively trading Ethereum whales have been taking advantage of the cryptocurrency’s poor performance this year, as data shows they have increased their holdings four-fold since 2017; this is the highest accumulation by annum recorded.

A study conducted by blockchain research institute Diar using data from TokenAnalyst reviewed over 5,200 Ethereum addresses, finding that the top holders by scale have accrued a massive 80% increase in their holdings. The aggregate Ethereum portfolios of these investors now account for over USD 2.3 billion, nearly 20% of that in circulation.

In January 2017, these whales owned just ETH 5 million, meaning there has been a four-fold increase to date.

Fewer whales, more concentration

The study also shows that there has been around a 30% drop in the number of whale addresses compared to the start of the year, with Ethereum becoming increasingly concentrated in those at the top.

The big investors carry a net positive figure in trading, meaning they are still investing at higher rates than they are cashing out. Around USD 1 billion has been sent to the top addresses so far this year, increasing Ethereum balances by 270% compared to the last quarter – levels this high have not been seen in nearly two years.

A struggling token market is suggested to be the cause in Ethereum hoarding as it is the cryptocurrency pair of choice for most tokens. Backing this up, the data indicates that wallets belonging to cryptocurrency exchanges have seen a spike in Ethereum activity from traders, as they presumably exit the token market.

Last month, the top exchanges recorded around USD 470,000 in Ethereum withdrawals, compared to deposits which reached over USD 1.8 billion.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was awarded an honorary PhD last week from the University of Basel for his contributions to blockchain.


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