What are whales, bulls, and bears?

Some terms in the crypto world make you think of a zoo pretty quickly. Think of whales, bulls, and bears. However, these terms do not directly have anything to do with the animals of the same name. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to know what is meant by them.

What are crypto whales?

Whales are investors who own a large number of crypto coins or tokens. This number is so large that they can influence the market by selling these tokens at once, only to buy them back again.

The moment a whale sells all his coins at once, the supply increases so much that the price will fall after selling the coins. The moment the price is at a lower level than the selling price, these kinds of whales can buy back many more coins with the same amount. In this way, the power of such whales will be increased more and more.

Why are these called whales?

The way they work can be compared to a whale jumping out of the water. When a whale sprints out of the water, it creates a "hole" in the water. This is because the whale has jumped up out of the water at great speed. When the water has filled this hole, the whale comes back into the water.

Are whales legal?

The crypto market is virtually unregulated. Therefore, whales are not illegal. However, there are many people who see this as market manipulation. This is because whales know that the price of crypto coins will react to the increase in supply. Subsequently, some whales buy back many more coins when the price has dropped, in order to make even more profit.

There are several "whale trackers" today. These are often web applications where you can see whether a price rise or fall is caused by a whale. Such trackers work for different cryptocurrencies, so you can see if whales are at work for almost any crypto currency.

What are crypto bulls?

The price of cryptocurrencies can go up as well as down. Many people think that you can only make money by rising prices. This is not entirely true, because it is also possible to make money from a price drop. This is called shorting, where you make a kind of bet on a price drop.

Crypto traders who expect a price to rise, and also hope for this price rise, are called bulls. It's a term that comes from the stock world and is therefore already incredibly out.

When a cryptocurrency is in a period of price increases, we also call this period bullish or a bull run. Bulls will therefore also not short (bet on a price drop), and almost always go long (bet on a price increase). To achieve this, bulls often buy a lot of crypto coins to make a price rise. When all bulls do this, it can have a positive effect on the price of a cryptocurrency.

Why are these called bulls?

Why is this animal used as a name for traders who bet on a price rise? It has everything to do with the way bulls attack their prey. The moment a bull attacks prey, the bull pushes its prey upwards with its horns. This can be compared to what a rising stock price looks like.

This term, as mentioned, has been known for years within the stock world. Therefore, there is a statue of a bull on Wall Street (in New York). This bull symbolizes rising stock prices.

Bull run

We call a period a bull run when the price of a cryptocurrency rises for an extended period. During this period, crypto traders are very positive about a particular currency. Because during a bull run crypto is talked about more often in the news and in the media, there are also more and more people who start buying crypto. They are afraid to miss the boat, which we also call FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). This ensures that prices will only continue to rise.

What are crypto bears?

Opposite the bulls are the bears. These are traders who are quite pessimistic about the crypto market and expect the price to fall. In many cases bears also hope that the price will drop, because they have opened a short position. They will then make money once the cryptocurrency starts to fall.

When a cryptocurrency drops for a longer period, or when there is little optimism within the market for a longer period of time, we also call it a bearish market. Generally speaking, this also means that there is much less interest in cryptocurrencies.

There was another bear market in 2018, when prices began to fall sharply after the bull market of 2017. More and more investors began to have little confidence in the price of mainly Bitcoin. At the time of a bear market, you also hear quite little about cryptocurrencies in the news in on social media.

Bears vs. bulls

Bears are always at odds with bulls. The former are hoping for a drop in the price, and therefore will not buy a cryptocurrency anytime soon. Instead, they only open a short position. These two markets always alternate.

After there has been a bull market, there comes a period when the prices of cryptocurrencies start to fall, and thus the bull market turns into a bear market. It doesn't mean that during a bear market you can't earn money with cryptocurrencies. As a matter of fact, you could also choose to open a short position, if you expect that the prices are going to drop even further.

On the contrary many bulls buy extra crypto coins and tokens during a bear market. You make the most profit when you buy a coin at the lowest price possible, to make the difference with the selling price as big as possible. In addition, buying crypto coins also causes the price to rise, because in that case there is more demand than supply.


Many concepts in the crypto world are not immediately understandable. This is because terms are often used that do not immediately explain what is meant. Think of whales, bulls, and bears. Initially, you would say that these are animals, while in fact something else is meant.

Whales are investors who own a large amount of a certain cryptocurrency. As a result, they have a great influence on the prices of certain cryptocurrencies. When they sell a large number of coins at once, the price will drop, allowing them to buy even more coins for the same price. This causes the power of whales to rise even further.

Bulls are crypto traders who are very positive about the future of the prices. Therefore, a period of optimism when the value of cryptocurrencies is rising is also called a bullish period. Many people buy crypto coins during this period.

A bearish market is a period when there is a lot of pessimism about the future. The prices of cryptocurrencies are falling, which means that confidence in the market is steadily declining. Especially in this period, you see that bulls keep buying coins, while bears prefer to sell their coins and open a short position.