Wealth distribution is a hot topic in today’s political climate. Rarely, however, is it talked about in regards to cryptocurrency. The vast majority of Bitcoin addresses hold less than a single Bitcoin, but some have more Bitcoin than most people could ever imagine. Here are five interesting facts I found while researching the richest Bitcoin addresses.
Bitcoin Distribution Is More Concentrated Than You Probably Guessed
BitInfoCharts tracks Bitcoin distribution across all addresses. If you haven’t already seen this information, you’re likely to be shocked.
Only 115 addresses contain more than 10,000 Bitcoin, making up nearly 20% of all Bitcoin in existence. Including accounts with balances of 1,000-10,000 coins, we get to approximately 40% of BTC holdings within 1658 addresses or 0.01% of total addresses.
Cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex and Bittrex control more than 2% of all Bitcoin
As two of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex and Bittrex have a huge amount of Bitcoin to store — a large portion of which can be found in two cold storage wallets. Bitfinex’s address, 3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r, holds 192,004 BTC ($1,299,772,969) and Bittrex’s address, 16rCmCmbuWDhPjWTrpQGaU3EPdZF7MTdUk, holds 142,203 BTC ($1,137,661,177). These are also the only two addresses holding more than 100,000 BTC, and together they make up 2% of all Bitcoins in existence.
While the Bitcoin in these wallets belongs to the users of these exchanges, this is still an insane amount of Bitcoin to be held by just 2 entities. Keep in mind, this is only two of the addresses they control.
There Are 321 Very Serious “Hodlers”
After sorting through the 1658 richest addresses, I found 321 that had not made any outgoing transactions for over 4 years. Combined, these addresses hold 1,091,755 ($7,390,646,225) or more than 6% of all Bitcoin.
These addresses are likely a mix of very rich long-term “hodlers” and some very unfortunate cases of lost Bitcoin. The latter is a particular concern given Bitcoin’s 21,000,000 max supply. There’s no way of knowing how many Bitcoins are permanently lost from circulation.
Black Monday Likely Encouraged Some Large Bitcoin Investments
On August 8th, 2011 (Black Monday) global stock markets crashed, following news of a Friday night credit rating downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt by Standard and Poor’s. This date saw 15 of the 1658 richest addresses receive their first incoming transaction.
Interestingly, none of the Bitcoin first sent to these addresses has been touched, as none of them have had any outgoing transactions. Since the time of their first incoming transactions, each of these wallets has only had a few fractional incoming Bitcoin transactions.
Combined these addresses received 42,625 Bitcoins worth an estimated $300,000 at the time. Today they have made over $290 million of profit.
Satoshi Nakamoto Is Missing From The Richest Addresses
Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder, is estimated to own roughly 980,000 BTC. Satoshi made his Bitcoin fortune by being the first ever miner of the cryptocurrency and continuing to mine it throughout the early days of the blockchain. Despite this, Satoshi is absent from the richest list of Bitcoin addresses. Instead, his wealth is thought to be spread across thousands of different addresses. For each block Satoshi mined, his reward seems to be held on a unique address.
Note: Data cited in the article are from April 4th, 2018
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