Published on January 24, 2023
What is an NFT Whale?
Learn about NFT Whales, how to track their crypto wallets and trades, and how to use icy tools' alerts and watchlists.
7 min read
Have you heard the term "NFT Whale" and wondered what it means? And what do digital assets have to do with the largest mammals in the world? The answers to both questions are actually more intuitive than you might think.
We'll walk you through what whales are and what they do in the NFT market's ecosystem — and we'll teach you how to see what they're doing and use their trades for your own investment strategies. We might even deep-dive into Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home's existential undertones — but only if we have time.
🐳 What Is An NFT Whale? 🐳
These whales are individuals or organizations that hold a lot of NFTs from any one collection — so many that they influence the price floor by holding and can seriously decrease the price if they sell.
When a real whale swims in the ocean, it moves a lot of water around, and when it comes to the surface for air, it can make a pretty big splash, right? So likewise, NFT whales make big waves whenever they buy or sell because they deal in such huge quantities of NFTs.
There isn't a set amount of NFTs from a collection that you have to own before you're considered a "whale" — icy.tools considers anyone with at least $500k worth of NFTs in their wallet to be a whale.
The "whale" terminology isn't unique to NFTs; it was popularized in crypto, but it can really apply to the biggest players in any financial market. Many people will "whale watch" to monitor and observe what whales are doing, and make their own trades based on that information.
However, because of their transparency, the NFT and crypto markets lend themselves especially well to whale watching. You can easily find whale wallets that hold vast amounts of NFTs and track their purchases and sales through on-chain data.
How To Verify If The Whale Is Legit
There are all kinds of websites and Twitter accounts dedicated to whale watching, and they'll post immediate updates whenever whales make big moves. But how can we know if that information is legit? Can we verify that a whale's purchase actually happened?
Yes, we can. This is where on-chain data comes in — you can use block explorer platforms like icy.tools or Etherscan to find wallets and verify whether NFT transactions really happened. Etherscan displays blockchain transactions as visual lists of buying and selling between sender and recipient wallet addresses. You can verify any whale activity by adding the whale's crypto wallet into a blockchain explorer and viewing the whale's transaction data for crypto movement or individual NFTs. It can take some time to get used to the site and learn how to read the data, but it's more than worth it.
Analytics platforms like icy.tools offer NFT dashboards that contain tons of helpful contextual data and metrics like floor prices, trading volume, profit leaderboards, and transaction history - along with a much more visually appealing user experience than blockchain explorers like Etherscan.
Both block explorers and analytics platforms are useful tools for keeping tabs on whales in the NFT space and verifying rumors of sales and purchases. We suggest learning how to use both so that you're able to understand on-chain data and then use the analysis of that data.
How To Track A Whale's Wallet With icy.tools
Icy Tools makes it super easy to track NFT whales. Here, we'll walk you through how to use its platform, use smart labels on specific whales, set up whale alert notifications, and more.
Viewing Whale Wallet Activity
Under the "Activity" section of icy.tools, you can see any Whale wallet's transaction history. You can sort by sales, purchases, or mints, and there's also the option to hide NFT transfers, giving you control over what data you see and how it's organized. You can also see how profitable a whale's trades have been, what their average buy and sell prices are, and how many NFT flips they've made.
Categorizing Wallets with Smart Labels
Icy Tools automatically applies Smart Labels to wallets, so you don't have to do intensive research to find whales. Simply select the "NFT Whale" label, and you'll be able to scroll through tons of addresses that hold $500k in NFTs or more.
Other Smart Labels include "ETH Whale" ($1mm in ETH or more), "Patron of the Metaverse" (1,000+ NFTs held), and "High ROI Flipper" (more than 500 ETH in profit). The purpose of Smart Labels is to help simplify the massive amounts of wallet data out there into clear visual categories.
Setting Up Whale Alert Notifications
You can set notifications for any whale wallet through Icy Tools that go off whenever they buy, sell, or mint an NFT. These whale alerts can be set up through your browser, Discord, Telegram, or push notifications on your phone. Icy Tools will also be rolling out contract-level pricing alerts soon, so be on the lookout.
Biggest NFT Whales To Watch For
Here, we'll introduce some of the biggest whales in the game currently, share their wallet addresses so you can find them on Icy Tools, and cover some of the trades they've made.
Meet the original Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) whale. Pranksy is the most well-known whale of them all and one of the biggest names in Web3 in general. He made the top of Nansen's NFT Leaderboards for "Best Overall Profits" in 2021, and at one point, his wallet held 1,250 BAYCs. It currently holds over 37,000 NFTs from tons of different collections.
Pranksy's biggest profits have all come from selling projects that he minted, not from buying on the secondary market. His best mints were from BAYC, World of Women, Bored Ape Kennel Club, Meebits, Stoner Cats, and Crypto Punks. He made 3258 ETH in profit from those collections in 2021 alone.
Another specialized whale, moin3au.eth has made their biggest profits by flipping cryptopunks specifically. They turned 500 ETH into 1,500 ETH on trading Punks alone — a 3x gain.
As of September 2022, moin3au.eth had taken a total of 13,000+ ETH in profits, buying from 38 NFT collections and choosing to sell from 7 of them. At the time of writing, their wallet holds 4,237 NFTs worth a total of $4.86M. They're also holding 37 Meebits worth 119.3 ETH total and haven't sold any of them at all.
Rounding out our list is Metakovan, aka Vignesh Sundaresan, the only whale here whose real identity has been verified. He rose to fame through his purchases of digital artist Beeple's NFTs — at first, a $2.2M purchase for a series of images, and then, $69M for the image "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days." This price secured the image as the third-most expensive piece of art ever.
It seems that he's intent on holding many of his larger investments for the long term. Taking a look at his wallet's recent activity, you can see that he's made a few notable sales above the $50k line, but certainly nothing in the millions (at least publicly).
Whales hold a lot of power in the market — communities' eyes are always on them, and they can influence collection prices greatly by selling or buying, for better or worse. However, they're a necessary part of the NFT ecosystem, and we can actually learn a lot by observing their behavior on-chain.
Icy makes it easy to do just that, offering tools that enable you to analyze and make sense of whales' transactions and even set up whale alert notifications. With Smart Labels, you can stay up to date on what whales like Pranksy are doing and identify new whales you want to watch. 🐳