The examples mentioned above are just a few high-profile cases. Insider trading runs rampant in the cryptocurrency space. Very often, prices and trading volumes will pump right before an exchange announces a new coin.
To many, insider trading is no longer a surprise but rather something that “just happens” in an unregulated market.
A whale is simply a colloquial way to describe an investor who is able to manipulate markets by mobilizing large amounts of capital.
Most crypto investors treat whales like the boogeyman. They’ve never had a personal encounter, but swear that whales are responsible for large market swings everywhere.
In some cases there is strong evidence indicating that they are right. Recently, academic research has come out showing that large-scale price manipulation does happen.