one of the main characteristics of the bitcoin block chain is its transparency. bitcoin allows anyone to see every transaction that has ever taken place on its network and check the balance of every address. Due to this transparency, we can know who owns the most bitcoins (btc) in 2022.
it is important to see who owns the most btc as the cryptocurrency supply is limited to 21 million coins. In February, Kim Grauer, director of research at blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, told Cointelegraph that approximately 3.7 million BTC had been lost, effectively deflating the circulating supply of the cryptocurrency.
Reading: What country owns the most bitcoin
Experts estimate that as bitcoin adoption increases, demand will skyrocket. With an estimated 3.7 million coins to be lost and early investors keeping a significant amount on-chain, what may follow is a supply shock. such an impact could only materialize if demand soars in the future.
Those who own the most bitcoins will benefit greatly from such a surprise. furthermore, a significant supply in the hands of one entity is considered a risk because if that entity ends up selling its war chest on the market, it could create a significant downside.
who owns more bitcoins?
The entity widely recognized as holding the most bitcoins is the cryptocurrency’s creator, satoshi nakamoto. Nakamoto is believed to have around 1.1 million untouched BTC over the years, leading to various theories about his identity and status.
A lot of analysis has been done to determine how many coins nakamoto actually has. After creating btc by mining the genesis block, nakamoto mined a significant number of blocks through his hardware at the time, with each block coming with a 50 btc reward.
nakamoto always used different bitcoin addresses and disappeared in 2010. it is unclear how many blocks they mined, as other early adopters also got in on the action pretty soon. Lower estimates point to Nakamoto holding around 750,000 BTC.
While Nakamoto’s exact holdings are not entirely clear, those of publicly traded companies, governments, funds and other transparent organizations are.
participations of public and private companies
Over time, various organizations have added bitcoin to their balance sheets. the most notable is business intelligence firm microstrategy, which amassed 129,218 btc after first investing in the cryptocurrency in August 2020.
Company CEO Michael Saylor has doubled down on the company’s bitcoin strategy throughout the bear market, saying MicroStrategy plans to hold BTC “through adversity.” in early 2021, possibly thanks to saylor’s influence, electric car maker tesla also invested in bitcoin, risking $1.5bn to buy 43,200 btc.
According to bitcoin treauries, a website that tracks bitcoins held by publicly traded companies, other companies that have bitcoins on their balance sheet are major scientific firms, btc miner marathon digital holdings, fintech giant square, crypto exchange coinbase and crypto investment firm galaxy digital.
thomas perfumo, head of trading and strategy at kraken, spoke to cointelegraph about the companies’ cryptocurrency holdings:
perfumo added that kraken also offers employees the option to take “as much of their crypto salary as they want through a payroll solution we call sidemoon.” added that a “significant number” of kraken employees take advantage of the solution.
Public companies are estimated to hold a total of 268,271 BTC, which equates to over 1.27% of the total Bitcoin supply. Over the years, however, a number of private companies have also disclosed holding BTC.
The private companies with the most BTC are the firm behind the EOSIO software Block.One, which holds 140,000 BTC, the Tezos Foundation, which holds 17,500 BTC, and Stone Ridge Holdings Group, which holds 10,000 BTC. it is followed by massmutual, with 3500 btc.
in total, private companies are reported to hold 202,068 btc. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Bill Barhydt, CEO of cryptocurrency investment firm Abra, noted that companies should invest in BTC but go for the “right size” for their treasuries. barhydt added:
The CEO revealed that Abra owns Bitcoin by comparing it to companies known to have invested in the cryptocurrency, including Tesla. In his words, as accounting rules in the United States become “fixed and modernized, it will be even easier to replicate” what companies like these are doing.
countries that own the most bitcoins
There are also several countries that have bitcoins. most have gotten hold of the flagship cryptocurrency by seizing it, but these holdings are often quickly sold at auction to private investors.
el salvador is the country that owns the most bitcoin, with 2,301 btc in its treasury. the country adopted cryptocurrency as legal tender in September 2021 and has invested in it numerous times. is planning to create a bitcoin city, using the energy of a volcano.
In April 2022, Finland was reported to have 1981 BTC seized during criminal investigations with plans to auction the funds later in the year. At the time of writing, no reports have surfaced suggesting the funds have been auctioned off.
ukrainian public officials provided data via opendatabot showing they owned a total of 46,351 btc as of april 5, 2021. these declarations were produced as ownership disclosure requirements imposed on public officials, meaning that they are owned by individuals and not owned by the government.
Similarly, members of the Georgian parliament are said to collectively own 66 BTC, although the funds belong to individuals and not the government.
bitcoin fund holdings
Cryptocurrency mutual funds allow investors to gain exposure to their underlying assets without having to trade them. In practice, this means getting exposure to a cryptocurrency like bitcoin without having to deal with public or private keys.
funds add more bitcoins in response to investor inflows and shed their holdings as investors withdraw. The largest fund holding Bitcoin is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which holds 643,572 BTC, equivalent to more than 3% of the cryptocurrency’s circulating supply. next up is coinshares, which holds about 42,980 btc through provider xbt’s exchange-traded products.
Before this month’s cryptocurrency market sell-off, bitcoin etf was the largest exchange-traded fund of btc holdings. The liquidation saw the fund’s holdings drop from 47,818 BTC to 23,307 BTC between June 16 and 17, a staggering 51% drop. The fund’s holdings are still estimated to be above those of 3iq’s bitcoin etf stock, which holds an estimated 12,115 btc.
largest individual bitcoin holdings
Bitcoin addresses are pseudonymous, which means that while we can easily see which addresses have the most bitcoins, we can only identify who is behind each one through extensive blockchain analysis or if the entity behind them is presented.
data from bitinfocharts shows that the top bitcoin wallets are owned by cryptocurrency exchanges, meaning they hold the assets of multiple users who choose to have their funds held by the exchanges. The data shows that there are five bitcoin addresses with between 100,000 and 1 million btc in them. four of these have been identified and belong to exchanges.
While it’s possible to see how many addresses hold how much BTC, this doesn’t exactly answer the question of what individuals have the largest Bitcoin holdings. Analyzing the market and individuals’ statements, however, provides us with various clues.
changpeng zhao, founder and CEO of leading cryptocurrency exchange binance, was said to have a net worth of $96 billion as of January 2022, and this estimate reportedly does not include bitcoin and bnb holdings.
The CEO has said on numerous occasions that he does not own fiat currencies, which would imply a significant holding of btc and bnb. Although the exact figures are not known, it is quite safe to assume that Zhao is among those who own a significant amount of bitcoins.
Other well-known large bitcoin holders include tyler and cameron winklevoss, who invested the millions they made in their lawsuit against facebook in cryptocurrencies and became the first bitcoin billionaires. it was rumored that the duo at one point owned 1% of all bitcoins in circulation.
Silicon valley-based venture capital investor tim draper is known to have bought at least 30,000 btc in 2014, purchasing the coins from an auction held by the us. uu. authorities after seizing funds from the now-defunct Silk Road darknet market.
Other individuals believed to have large amounts of BTC include digital currency group CEO Barry Silbert, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Saylor, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. their exact holdings, if they have bitcoins, are unknown.
bitcoin hodler growth and supply
As the number of bitcoin holders increases, the available supply of the cryptocurrency decreases, potentially leading to the aforementioned supply shock. kraken perfume pointed out that the magic of cryptocurrencies is that any individual has complete flexibility to manage their cryptocurrency custody.
abra’s barhydt said investors in bitcoin and ether (eth) should have a minimum time horizon of five to seven years or more and should “assume those funds are locked up for at least five years, given the inherent volatility to the valuation of exponentially growing technologies.”
Assuming the funds are locked up would increase the potential supply shock. kent barton, tokenomics lead at shapeshift dao, told cointelegraph that bear markets have “historically been a great time to buy bitcoin at relatively low prices,” although there is no guarantee that prices will rise again.
During bull markets, Barton said it’s important to “take a certain percentage of your risk off the table” as moving some BTC to fiat when prices are high “means you’ll be in a better position to weather the next bear market and have dry powder to buy bitcoin at low prices.” barton added:
Whether or not bitcoin is a good investment depends on who you ask. the currency cannot be debased by inflation nor can its transactions be censored by a central authority. for some of its owners, prices are almost irrelevant as long as these and other qualities are maintained.