Top 10,000 Bitcoin investors control one-third of the supply

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key takeaways

  • Bitcoin is a decentralized asset, yet large amounts are controlled by a select few
  • The top 114 addresses hold nearly 3 million BTC, 15.5% of the total supply
  • The anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto holds 5.2% of the supply.
  • MicroStrategy holds 0.68% of the supply

whether you love or hate BitcoinThe world’s first cryptocurrency has “thrown the word”Decentralized” In modern vernacular.

But while bitcoin is the closest thing to a decentralized asset, it is worth noting that it has pressure points. Not central points of failure, but large holders who hold significant amounts of currency. In some cases, those coins are enough to cause a serious stir if they hit the market at once.

satoshi nakamoto

The most obvious of the large holders is anonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Whether as an individual or a group, Nakamoto has owned nearly 1 million bitcoins since the early days. This equates to roughly 5.2% of the total supply – a huge number.

No one knows who Nakamoto is, but it is definitely a risk to have such an amount of coins in the hands of one person/entity.

Coinbase listed this factor as a risk to its business in its S-1 form when it goes public in April 2021. Under the risk section, the company outlined “The Identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the Pseudonymous Person or Individuals Who Developed Bitcoin, or the Transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins” As a risk to bitcoin and, by extension, Coinbase’s business.

While speculation on Nakamoto’s identity is a fool’s game, and these coins could easily be lost forever, it is easy to see why Coinbase listed it as at risk on the filing. The fact is that one entity or individual holds 5.2% of the supply, and no one knows who.

bitcoin whale

Beyond Nakamoto, there are many wallets that hold a lot of bitcoin. One Study The top 10,000 bitcoin investors control a third of the total supply, as outlined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

This figure is an estimate andThe probability is low as we cannot rule out that some of the largest addresses are controlled by a single entity”. according to the study. For example, it does not include the aforementioned 5.2% of coins controlled by Nakamoto, as it is not known whether Nakamoto is an individual.

Given that bitcoin returned the equivalent of 230% compounded annually between 2011 and 2021, and has outperformed every major financial asset class in the world in doing so, it is perhaps not surprising that a handful of early adopters The small group controls a significant amount of the supply.

A $2,000 investment in 2010 would have earned you 10,000 bitcoins, which is worth over $26 million today. A select few who joined in those early days have a significant amount of supply in their reserves today.

Today, only 114 addresses hold 10,000 BTC or more (likely some of them with exchange addresses) and those 114 addresses hold roughly 3 million BTC, or 15.5% of the total supply.

The table below shows how much bitcoin is locked up in a small number of the top addresses.

Institutions holding large amounts of bitcoin

Apart from individuals, there are also institutions that hold huge amounts of bitcoins.

First to mind is Michael Saylor and MicroStrategy, who hold 130,000 bitcoin, which is 0.68% of the total supply. This is the most by any public company and there is some fear that if it ever did hit the market, bitcoin’s price could slide to the downside, such is the amount of bitcoin that MicroStrategy holds.

While MicroStrategy is the public company that holds the most bitcoins,, the private Chinese company that developed the cryptocurrency EOS, holds 140,000 bitcoins. This makes it the largest known holding by a single company.

final thoughts

It is true that bitcoin’s unique fundamentals make it a uniquely decentralized asset. The way the proof-of-work mechanism works and the fact that no insider started with any coins (even Nakamoto had to mine that stash) made this decentralized Have helped make quality a reality.

But despite this decentralization, there exist a number of large holders who own enough coins to move the market, at least in the short term, if something ever happens that causes those coins to move.

The scale of bitcoin’s rise has been so staggering that some of those early casuals who bought it for pennies are now in possession of vast hoards of hundreds of millions. Satoshi Nakamoto’s net worth to hit an all-time high for bitcoin in November 2021? cool $70 billion, good for 15th Richest person in the world.

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