Big Fish in the Crypto-Pond – Who Owns All the Bitcoin?


Bitcoin, or a Litecoin horde that would make you rich if you sold it all, you're almost certainly not as big a fish as you might think. Neither are most of the millions of other wallet owners. The majority of the world's digital currency is owned by just a few thousand wallets. The owners are anonymous, they are absolutely, stinking rich.

Few would have predicted in early 2017 that, by the tail end of the year, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would increase in value by factors of thousands of percent. Floated as prices crashed down. Bitcoin purchases.

sec initialbank initial coin offering ether cryptocurrency
Jaap Arriens / Getty Images

Jaap Arriens / Getty Images

The recent correction did not shake the biggest owners of cryptocurrency, however. A few crypto-whales are sitting on a stash of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash worth billions of dollars, and they're not selling. Instead, they continue to buy, hoarding masses of cryptocurrency, gradually migrating Bitcoin and altcoins into the hands of the crypto elite.

Bitcoin ownership by the numbers

Bitcoin wallets in existence, more than 13 million of them just a fraction of a Bitcoin. While many in number, they make up a minuscule portion of the overall financial landscape.

1,500 addresses have between 1,000 and 10,000 Bitcoins in them. The top 111 wallets have more than 10,000 Bitcoins a piece. That's tens of millions of dollars' worth of cryptocurrency in each wallet.

The 100 largest Bitcoin wallets are together worth $ 28.6 billion.

Using BitInfoChart's latest calculations, 87 percent of all Bitcoins wallets. The figures only tighten from there. 61 percent of all Bitcoins are owned by just 0.07 percent of wallets. That's an incredible amount of wealth in the hands of very, very few.

The second largest wallet in the world contains 163.133 Bitcoins, worth around $ 1.6 billion. A Bitcoin wallet kept offline to avoid hacking – owned by BitFenix, a cryptocurrency exchange. For the largest wallets; hint to such an identity. Whoever owns them, they are sitting on the vast fortunes. There are over 100 Bitcoins wallets around the world with a $ 28.6 billion worth of Bitcoins in them, and that's with a price half that of the December 2017 peak.

Tantalizingly, there are many wallets in the top-100 richest that have not been touched in a long time. Some of those, like the 9th most full Bitcoin wallet in the world – $ 657 million – have never taken any Bitcoin out, and have not been meaningful input since 2014. These are classed as "dormant" wallets. They could be true long term holders, or part of the millions of Bitcoins thought to be hard drives, forgotten passwords, and other problems.

graph showing the largest volume of bitcoins in a wallet as of March 12, 2018

Many large wallets are active, however, and the largest Bitcoin wallets are getting larger. Bitcoin in the world increased its holdings by 60,000 Bitcoins in the last days of 2017. surge. A number four wallet followed a similar pattern in early 2018.

Bitcoin owners. The spread of the wealth of the other cryptocurrencies is much the same and, if anything, the largest. In the case of Litecoin, 70 addresses – less than .001 percent of all Litecoin wallet addresses in existence – own more than 23 million Litecoin. That's 42 percent of all holdings. Just 0.15 percent of Litecoin wallets – around 3,200 of them – control more than 70 percent of the total. The top 30 percent of Litecoin wallets control 99.62 percent of all Litecoin in existence.

Bitcoin wallets with lots of ins and outs are owned by exchanges due to their frequency of transactions, the infrequency of Litecoin wallet transfers suggest to be owned by wealthy investors. Of the top 10 wallets, only one has ever moved Litecoin out. That wallet first purchased Litecoin in 2014 and has brought in, and transferred out, hundreds of thousands of Litecoin in the following years.

What do these numbers mean?

Gives the owners incredible power. Like stock traders, if the largest Bitcoin wallet owners decided to cash out, leaving the much smaller investors concerned about what to do with the rapidly changing value of their own holdings.

It could send prices tanking.

The whales do not even need to sell to raise concerns. In November of 2017, Bitcoin investor Roger is due to change of thousands of Bitcoin to various exchanges. Bitcoin values ​​crashed hard in December.

As Edgar Bers of HashFlare told Digital Trends in a recent interview, it's possible that large cryptocurrency owners might be "shake the trees" of nervous investors by deliberately downing cryptocurrency values ​​through large sales, or public statements of low confidence prices decrease.

It's almost impossible proof that it's the case given the psylluanonymous nature of cryptocurrency wallets. Still, we know the biggest wallets are buying more at perceived lows, and fewer of the top wallets are more, if any, of their holdings. It is also possible to make the strategy of shorting cryptocurrencies, even through something legitimate like futures trading, far more viable.

The Silver 2.0 lining

From the cryptocurrency investments, but there's a silver lining. This distribution of wealth shows big money is interested in cryptocurrency.

It seems to be that it is not enough that they are invested in its future, and that they are bright enough that they are willing to not only continue to hold on to their existing wallet 2017, but even use the downturn as an opportunity to buy more. Many people look at financial advisers and talking heads for investment advice, but maybe the best bet with cryptocurrencies. The crypto-whales seem to be able to track and predict (or at worst, influence) the biggest downturns, often using them to increase their holdings.

Cryptocurrency is not for a limited measure of stability. Whatever happens, cryptocurrencies will remain relevant as long as the whales do not abandon them.

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