Data from Glassnode reveals that the number of Ether (ETH) held by “whale” addresses, which are defined as addresses with 1,000-10,000 ETH, has declined since Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade in mid-April. As of May 1, whale addresses held over 14.033 million ETH, compared to 14.167 million ETH on April 12, when the Shapella upgrade went live. Interestingly, the week before the upgrade, the Ether whale cohort held 14.303 million ETH, which was the highest amount in 2023. Other address cohorts also showed a decline, including sharks (100-1,000 ETH), fishes (10-100 ETH), crabs (1-10 ETH), and mega-whales (10,000+ ETH). Only shrimps (<1 ETH) accumulated during the period.
The Correlation Between Whale Activity and ETH Price
Historically, a decrease in Ether whales typically indicates heightened downside risk for the ETH price, as whale activity is a leading market indicator. However, the correlation between whale activity and ETH price snapped in March 2020, with retail mania taking over alongside the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing. Despite the declining number of whales, ETH rallied from $110 in March 2020 to over $4,950 in November 2021. Since then, whale holdings have risen by almost 1 million ETH, while ETH’s price has more than doubled to around $1,850, hinting at a possible return of the price-to-whale correlation, which would be a bullish sign for Ether.
The Shapella upgrade enabled investors to withdraw ETH locked via staking, leading to an increase in selling pressure. Since the upgrade, investors have withdrawn over 1.97 million ETH worth around $3.6 billion, according to Beaconcha.in. However, no significant changes in cryptocurrency exchanges’ ETH balances have been observed.
On the daily chart, ETH/USD is holding above the short-term support provided by its 50-day exponential moving average (EMA) near $1,840. A successful rebound from here opens $2,000-$2,125 as the next upside target range in the second quarter. A break below the 50-day EMA risks sending ETH towards its 200-day EMA near $1,670, down about 10% from current price levels.
Overall, the decrease in Ether whale addresses, along with other address cohorts, suggests that large investors may be leaning bearish in the near term. However, the possible return of the price-to-whale correlation would be a bullish sign for Ether.