• Between December 1 and 6, 2018, a whale moved a total of nearly $3 billion of BTC between wallets.
  • It was discovered that Coinbase was this whale due to an announcement they made on their blog.
  • The possible reason for the movement could be a re-organization of financial assets, taking advantage of the bear market’s low fees.

Coinbase was the one who was moving almost $3 billion worth of Bitcoins (totaling 856,000 BTC) from the exchange’s wallets.

Huge money transfers

It appears that on December 3, 2018, the whale was moving 66,223 BTC (worth $257 million at the time) from an inactive address that hadn’t been used since 2014. The transaction was transferred directly to another address, then evenly distributed among 100 addresses.

Later on, it has become clear that the whale was even bigger as the transaction was only a small part of a vast money movement. The Chinese crypto news outlet discovered another transaction (totaling 66,379 BTC), which was split among 101 addresses.

Furthermore, a few days later, the media outlet found 107 addresses containing 8,000 BTC each, totaling 856,000 BTC, which is worth nearly $3 billion. Just for comparison, the infamous cryptocurrency exchange Mt.Gox lost 850,000 BTC in the hack (from which 200,000 was “found”).

The reasons for the whale movement

There were speculations that the whale is moving funds to or out of the OTC market. Other claims are stating that the BTC belongs to the website. However, it was uncovered that’s donation address contains a little over 2.2 Bitcoins, so this guess is highly unlikely.

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But checking out a Coinbase announcement, which was made on November 29, 2018, it is highly likely that the cryptocurrency exchange was the one behind the huge money movement. Coinbase stated that the exchange would be running scheduled maintenance across its platform in seven days after the announcement. According to Coinbase, the maintenance could cause “movements” on all Coinbase-supported blockchains.

“These are controlled, closely monitored movements that are being performed to provide enhanced security and protection for our customers,” the exchange added in the blog post.

Checking out the dates, the money transfers occurred just in the time Coinbase was referring to; between December 1 and 6. It has become clear that the exchange was distributing user funds between different addresses, which is a common financial network security strategy to spread the risk of a single point of failure.

Furthermore, since we are in a bear market and the Bitcoin network is not congested at the moment, the fees are relatively low for transactions in the BTC network. Coinbase could have taken advantage of all this to reorganize its addresses and transactions – moving BTC from legacy to SegWit addresses.

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