Crypto whales are generally thought of as wealthy traders with the ability to move markets via a single sell order. Yet the greatest whales of all aren’t traders but ICOs which own millions of ether worth billions of dollars. Over 3% of the total ethereum supply is estimated to be in the hands of ICOs, and when those projects cash out, as periodically happens, the effects can be dramatic.
On Sunday, while the crypto markets were enduring yet more turmoil, ethereum took a sudden nosedive, going from $516 to $464 in under two hours. Up until then, it had been one of the more stable coins compared to alts still in the experimental stage, which have absorbed the worst of the losses. Ethereum’s flash drop made it one of the worst performers in the cryptocurrency top 100 yesterday, shaving around 16% off its valuation. The cause of the sell-off has been attributed to one of last year’s ICOs offloading a significant portion of its ethereum reserves. If so, it’s not the first time something like this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.