From shrimps to whales – classification of Bitcoin holders

Classification of Bitcoin holders

Key takeaways

  • Market movers can influence certain markets, like stocks or cryptocurrency.
  • Bitcoin hodlers are divided into different groups:
    • Shrimps with < 1 BTC
    • Crabs with 1 to 10 BTC
    • Octopuses with 10 to 50 BTC
    • Fishes with 50 to 100 BTC
    • Dolphins with 100 to 500 BTC
    • Sharks with 500 to 1,000 BTC
    • Whales with 1,000 to 5,000 BTC
    • Humpback whales with > 5,000 BTC.
  • The Creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, still holds around 1 million BTC.
  • Bitcoin can act as a tool to fight inflation.
  • Before investing in cryptocurrencies, one must educate itself first.


If you are in the crypto space, you have to have at least one trade by now, whether it was for buying Bitcoin or some popular altcoins. Chances are you have also heard about market movers now, especially the big ones like whales, that can influence the entire cryptocurrency market. And you probably even wish to become one of a kind one day.

Who are market movers? In general trading, this term refers to the factors or events that can significantly impact the financial markets which can result in notable price movements in various assets such as stocks, currencies, commodities, or bonds. Spotting and understanding market movers is crucial for traders and investors as they can provide valuable insights for making informed trading decisions.

Today I will be talking about different classifications of crypto holders, specifically oriented toward BTC, since it is the first and the most popular crypto asset out there.


Bitcoin hodlers

By being the first crypto ever created, Bitcoin has captivated the attention of both seasoned investors and curious enthusiasts.

Since the total supply of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million coins, one fascinating aspect lies in the distribution of those coins, where a diverse spectrum of holders exists, each with varying numbers of BTC in their wallets. This article will examine those categories of investors based on the number of coins they hold and try to shed light on the potential influence they have in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Let’s see who has Bitcoin and where they rank.

From shrimps to whales

Starting with the smallest sea creatures that are synonyms for hodlers (or holders, if you are not familiar with the modified word among crypto enthusiasts), people hodling less than 1 BTC are named shrimps. Out of the entire Bitcoin supply, these individuals are the most in numbers. The rough estimation is that ~22 million people hold less than one whole BTC. percent in percent of holders, that would be ~96% of all holders in the world.

Next in the line comes crabs, and they hold anything between 1 to 10 BTC. A goal for many individuals out there, as owning one full Bitcoin becomes something to brag about once achieved. Just go to the r/Bitcoin subreddit and you will find many posts in which people are celebrating joining this “club”. Crabs take ~2.5% out of all holders, while expressed in numbers there are ~560,000 people owning somewhat between 1-10 BTC.

Fun fact #1: The DCA army falls into these two categories, and many crypto believers think they will bring BTC to 1 million dollars per coin one day, despite any drawbacks from the governments over the years.

Octopuses are individuals (can be institutions as well) hodling between 10 to 50 BTC. Considering you need a significant amount of money to reach this level, it is not a surprise they represent less than 1% of total Bitcoin holders, to be even more precise ~0.3%, or ~72,000 entities hold that much BTC.

Records also show that shrimps, crabs, and octopuses have approximately 23% of all Bitcoins in the world.

And now things are becoming quite interesting, since with over 50 BTC you join the club of holders controlling almost 5% of the total supply, ~4.7% to be even more precise. There are ~11,000 individuals or companies having between 50 and 100 BTC, while in percent this number is 0.047% of the entire hodling population. These are called fishes.

The smallest difference is between the fish group and the next one in line – dolphins. There are ~10,000 people or businesses holding anything between 100 to 500 BTC, or 0.044% of the total number of BTC enthusiasts. Dolphins alone control almost 12% of the total coin supply, or ~2.2 million BTC.

Sharks, sea creatures causing fear in almost everyone, are bodies that have between 500 and 1,000 BTC. Gotta say, a number quite remarkable in terms of value. They control ~6.6% of the total Bitcoin supply. In other words, they hold ~1.23 million coins, and there are roughly 1500 individuals or organizations with this large amount of first-created cryptocurrency.

Whales, a sea life form so often mentioned in the crypto space that we all want to be one, are the ones who can actually control the market. With 1,000 to 5,000 BTC holdings, they are responsible for liquidations, together with exchanges and their leveraged trading options, as well as sudden price moves in both directions. Interestingly enough, there are more whales than sharks. Their number is ~2,000, and they possess ~18.4% of BTC supply or ~3.43 million coins.

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If you think the ranking ends here, keep reading. At the very top of this pyramid we have humpback whales. ~220 of them have over 5,000 BTC individually, which amounts to ~13,3% of the total supply, or ~2.47 million Bitcoins. The number that will remain is just a dream for regular people like you and me, sadly.

Important note: Bear in mind that exchanges and miners are excluded from this classification. These numbers fluctuate quite often, especially on the miners’ side. But it doesn’t hurt to be mentioned as well.

Miners hold ~9% of the total circulation, which accounts for ~1.8 million BTC, while exchanges have in their wallets ~12% or 2.3 million Bitcoins.

In addition to the above, one must not forget the amount of Bitcoin lost over the years, which accounts for ~4 million BTC. As we all know, Bitcoin was established in 2009, and in those days early adopters didn’t have as sophisticated ways to store their cryptos, as we have today. This number is not to be disregarded, since it adds up to the narrative that Bitcoin is the most scarce asset in the world.

Fun fact #2: Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of the first digital cryptocurrency in the world, still holds a significant amount of BTC in his wallets. Different research has been conducted over the years, and some believe he could have up to 20, 000 different wallets, with a total amount of BTC in them between 750,000 and 1,100,000 BTC. 



No matter into which category you fall in, one thing is for sure. Owning BTC, and by that I mean owning it for real and keeping your coins in cold storage, puts you in a privileged position.

Its limited supply, set at 21 million coins, makes it a scarce asset. By holding Bitcoin, you become part of an exclusive group of people sharing the same values – holding hard-coded money instead of fiat, completely decentralized, audited, and immutable. Additionally, Bitcoin acts as a powerful shield against the rough effects of fiat inflation. While traditional currencies lose value over time due to government policies and economic fluctuations, Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and fixed supply ensure it remains a reliable store of wealth. This combination of scarcity and inflation resilience establishes Bitcoin as an exceptional and advantageous asset.

Speaking of market movers, although whales and humpback whales can influence the market, and they do, they do not always dictate the market direction. The cryptocurrency space is very complex, at this level still highly unregulated, and can be affected by dozens of factors: economic, geopolitical, certain events like hacks or rug pulls, etc.

As a final note, before deciding whether to invest in Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency, make sure to do proper research. Educate yourself about this ecosystem prior to investing in it.

The above-mentioned classification applies to other cryptocurrencies as well, but it is the most used for Bitcoin since it is the first of its kind.

Glassnode ranking of Bitcoin holders was used for the purpose of this article.