There are over 140,000 wallet addresses containing between 10 and 100 BTC, according to the “Bitcoin Rich List”. However, not each of these portfolios will belong to a millionaire. There are roughly 24,233 wallets worth more than $1 million among people who are unquestionably Bitcoin millionaires. Not including Satoshi, four Bitcoin addresses contain more than 100,000 Bitcoin each. The four addresses with the most Bitcoin belong to Binance, Bitfinex, and another address, whose identity is unknown. These four addresses collectively own more than 663,000 bitcoin.
Did you also know that Microstrategy owns more Bitcoin than any other publicly traded company. But here’s the thing about decentralization of the blockchain, ownership of Bitcoin, even in large quantities, does not confer any control over the Bitcoin network. How about the Bitcoin whales then? Satoshi Nakamoto is the first Bitcoin whale, inventing and also kickstarting Bitcoin, by being the first miner to create blocks of transactions. It is estimated that Satoshi mined more than 22,000 blocks starting from January 3rd 2009, and received more than one million bitcoin in cumulative block rewards for his work.
The mystery of who is Satoshi Nakamoto remains to this day and so many other speculations tend to make the Bitcoin space murky. Here’s the thing though, since its introduction almost 13 years ago, Bitcoin has been made available to millions of wallets worldwide. Governments, private organizations, public companies, and even individuals possess these Bitcoin wallets. A select subset of these individuals stands out because of their significant Bitcoin holdings, so let’s start unraveling the mystery.
Definition of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that operates independently of central banks or financial institutions. It is created through a process called mining, where a network of computers solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and create new coins. Bitcoin’s value is determined by market demand and supply and is subject to extreme volatility.
As of April 2023, the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is over $1 trillion, making it one of the most valuable assets in the world. Due to its decentralized nature, it is difficult to determine who owns the most Bitcoin, but there are some notable individuals, companies, and private entities that are known to hold significant amounts. This article explores the ownership of the most Bitcoin by private individuals, companies, and private entities.
Importance of knowing who owns the most Bitcoin
The amount of bitcoin that each stratum of addresses owns in relation to the entire bitcoin supply fluctuates over time. Today, only four Bitcoin addresses contain 100,000 – 1,000,000 BTC for a total of 663,306 BTC. The next 112 largest owners, who range from 10,000 – 100,000 BTC, own a total of 2,378,961 BTC. These wealthiest 112 addresses account for 12.32% of the total supply. Bitcoin addresses with 10,000 or more Bitcoin are sometimes referred to as whales. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the Bitcoin amassing realm:
Source: River Financial
Understanding who owns the most Bitcoin is important for understanding the cryptocurrency market, predicting market movements, and informing regulatory decisions although there are several definite reasons to know who owns the most Bitcoin.
First, it can provide insight into the distribution of wealth within the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin was created with the intention of being a decentralized currency, but the ownership of most Bitcoin by a select few individuals, companies, or entities may challenge this ideal. Understanding the distribution of Bitcoin ownership can help to determine if the cryptocurrency market is fair and equitable.
Second, the ownership of most Bitcoin can have a significant impact on the market. If a large holder of Bitcoin sells their holdings, it can cause a significant shift in the price of Bitcoin. Therefore, knowing who owns the most Bitcoin can provide a sign of potential market volatility and the direction of the market.
Third, the ownership of Bitcoin can also have implications for the regulatory environment. If a small group of individuals or entities owns a significant portion of Bitcoin, it could lead to concerns about market manipulation and the need for increased regulation. On the other hand, if Bitcoin ownership is well-distributed, it may provide a more favorable regulatory environment for the cryptocurrency market.
Individuals who own most Bitcoin
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. The true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown, but it is believed to be an individual or group of individuals who developed the original Bitcoin white paper in 2008. The enigmatic inventor of Bitcoin mined more than 22,000 blocks before disappearing from view in 2011. With an estimated 1 million coins spread across around 22,000 wallets, he is said to be the biggest Bitcoin holder in existence right now.
It is estimated that Satoshi Nakamoto holds around 1 million Bitcoins, which is worth over $40 billion at current prices. While Satoshi Nakamoto has not moved any Bitcoins since 2011, the ownership of such a significant amount of Bitcoin makes them one of the most influential individuals in the cryptocurrency market.
If ever cashed out, the value of these holdings would be tremendous and might cause havoc on the world currency markets. This makes Satoshi, a true inventor with a hefty legacy, one of the most significant yet little-known personalities in finance today.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are well-known Bitcoin investors and entrepreneurs. They gained fame for their involvement in the early development of Facebook. As a result, they established Gemini 2014, a cryptocurrency exchange. With an estimated 70,000 BTC in their possession, it is thought that this dynamic duo will be among the first to be recognized by Forbes as blockchain and cryptocurrency millionaires.
The Winklevoss twins are well knowledgeable about the tech industry. The Winklevoss twins are estimated to hold around 1.5% of all Bitcoins in circulation, which is worth over $1.9 billion at current prices. Their involvement in the cryptocurrency market has helped to raise its profile and bring it to mainstream attention.
A well-known venture investor who used Bitcoin early on is Tim Draper. In 2012, he made his first Bitcoin purchase, and since then, he has established himself as a leading figure in the sector. But in 2014, the U.S. Marshals Service staged an auction and sold off a sizable amount of Bitcoins—roughly 30,000 BTC—resulting in his largest buy to date.
Draper acted quickly to seize this once-in-a-lifetime chance, purchasing the coins for just a little bit more than $18 million USD at the time. He has since made some impressive investments as a supporter of blockchain technology, and several fresh and intriguing ventures are currently in development.
Michael J. Saylor
A well-known Bitcoin maximalist, Michael J. Saylor is the co-founder and CEO of the publicly traded software company MicroStrategy. By investing millions of dollars in Bitcoin since 2019, Saylor has placed a significant wager on the cryptocurrency as an asset of the future. His claimed ownership of 17,700 BTC is an astounding demonstration of his faith in the cryptocurrency market.
Besides making significant personal investments in Bitcoin, Saylor frequently tweets and speaks in public about it, giving investment counsel to many in the sector. He has been a strong advocate for cryptocurrency investment at larger institutions thanks to his considerable Bitcoin holdings.
Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, a venture capital firm that invests in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. He is also the founder of Grayscale investments, which manages the GrayScale Bitcoin Trust, a publicly traded Bitcoin investment fund.
It is estimated that Barry Silbert holds around 100,000 Bitcoins, which is worth over $2.8 billion at current prices. His influence in the cryptocurrency market through his various ventures has helped to shape the direction of the industry
Public corporations with the largest Bitcoin holdings
The publicly traded software company MicroStrategy has recently made news for its decision to invest a sizable chunk of its treasury in Bitcoin. They are currently the largest Bitcoin holders by a wide margin, with holdings totaling over 129,000 BTC. They just made their first Bitcoin buy in 2020, but since then, they have progressively increased their holdings, demonstrating a showed dedication to this emerging asset class.
Galaxy Digital Holdings
Galaxy Digital Holdings is a financial services company focused on the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. The company was founded by Mike Novogratz, a well-known cryptocurrency investor, and former hedge fund manager. As of March 2021, Galaxy Digital Holdings held over 16,400 BTC.
The American Bitcoin mining business, Marathon Digital Holdings, is leading the way in the sector. It presently holds a little over 11,000 BTC, making it the second-largest Bitcoin holder among publicly traded corporations. This amount has increased significantly over the previous year, demonstrating the company’s dedication to seizing new cryptocurrency opportunities as they present themselves.
In February 2021, Tesla Inc. shocked the world by announcing that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin. The move sparked a lot of excitement in the cryptocurrency community, but things really heated up when Tesla announced in 2022 that it was selling 75% of its Bitcoin holdings during the height of the bad market in cryptocurrencies, making a very successful deal. As of right now, Tesla still has 10,500 BTC in their collection of digital assets.
A major player in the cryptocurrency industry is Square. The publicly traded company, well recognized for its well-liked payment processing tool, Cash tool, is also one of the biggest Bitcoin (BTC) holders at the moment. In Square, there are over 8,000 BTC. Block has advanced significantly in the Bitcoin industry after changing its name from Square.
Private companies with the largest Bitcoin holdings
Binance owns the largest cold storage wallet address, 34xp4vRoCGJym3xR7yCVPFHoCNxv4Twseo, which holds 248,597 BTC. Changpeng Zhao, who goes by CZ, is the founder and CEO of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. In theory, as the dollar’s value decreases with inflation and Bitcoin continues to store value, paying off fiat debt will require fewer bitcoin. This strategy is like buying on margin or using leverage.
Grayscale is a cryptocurrency investment firm that offers a range of investment products, including the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). The company is estimated to hold over 650,000 BTC on behalf of its clients. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is one of the most popular ways for investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin through traditional investment vehicles.
Block.one is a blockchain software company that is best known for creating the EOS blockchain protocol. The company has also been actively investing in cryptocurrencies and is estimated to hold over 140,000 BTC. Block.one has been bullish on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for several years and believes that they have the potential to disrupt traditional financial systems.
Bitmain is a China-based company that designs and manufactures ASIC Bitcoin miners. The company is estimated to have amassed over 70,000 BTC. Bitmain has been a major player in the Bitcoin mining industry since its inception and continues to be a dominant force in the space.
The Tezos Foundation
One of the biggest Bitcoin investors worldwide is the Swiss-based Tezos Foundation. The Foundation has a major impact on the Tezos protocol and the cryptocurrency ecosystem thanks to its holdings of more than 17,500 BTC. The Foundation was created to aid Tezos blockchain-related projects and efforts, and it has helped research teams all across the world.
Stone Ridge Holdings
A financial services company with a few prominent assets in its portfolio and an excellent clientele, Stone Ridge Holdings is situated in New York City. One of the company’s greatest selling points is its expanding Bitcoin holdings; according to current estimates, Stone Ridge is one of the top 10,000 Bitcoin holders and one of the largest cryptocurrency investors.
Pantera Capital is a blockchain investment firm that has been active in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. The company is estimated to hold over 7,000 BTC. Pantera Capital has been a vocal supporter of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and has made several successful investments in the space over the years.
One of the most prosperous mutual benefit societies and insurance firms in the US is MassMutual. They garnered media attention in 2020 when they bought Bitcoin valued at $100 million. This places MassMutual as one of the top Bitcoin investors and puts the company at the forefront of financial technology.
MassMutual has taken the lead in adopting these new digital assets as an investment possibility thanks to this enormous pool of assets—estimated to be over 3,500 Bitcoin—that it currently controls.
The Lisk Platform, an open-source blockchain application platform, is supported by the Lisk Foundation, a non-profit organization. It aids in the creation of sidechain applications and decentralized applications for businesses. About 1,898 Bitcoins are held by the Foundation.
The ownership of the most Bitcoins by private individuals raises questions about the decentralization and fairness of the cryptocurrency market. However, it also highlights the potential for significant wealth creation and influence within the industry. While the ownership of most Bitcoins by private individuals may challenge the ideals of decentralization, it is important to remember that the cryptocurrency market is still in its early stages of development and is subject to change.
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