Bitcoin whales are the term used for those who hold huge amounts of this cryptocurrency.
Isn’t this term fascinating?
Investors across the world are in awe of these Bitcoin holders, as they have one of the best investments in their hands.
For those of you who are still new to this term, Bitcoin was the first well-known cryptocurrency in the world.
This currency revolutionized the financial market across the globe. Learn here about Bitcoin and the top Bitcoin holders in the world.
Let us know below who owns the most bitcoins.
What are bitcoins? How and why do they matter?
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009 by someone named Satoshi Nakamoto.
This is not a traditional form of currency that can be controlled by governments across the world but on a decentralized network known as blockchain.
These transactions are recorded in a public ledger.
Many of you must be wondering if it is a safe form of currency.
The answer is yes! The transactions are secured through cryptography, which makes them tamper-proof.
There is a fixed supply of bitcoins. These are 21 million in number, which keeps circulating among potential buyers and sellers.
How does it work?
Mining: Computers are tasked with solving complex mathematical puzzles to verify transactions and earn new Bitcoins as rewards.
Wallets: Users are provided with digital wallets to store the bitcoins on their devices or online.
Transactions: Bitcoins can be transferred from peer-to-peer, directly between users without intermediaries.
Why do we want to know who has the largest number of bitcoins? Since the number of bitcoins is limited (approximately 19.5 million are in circulation and 20 million is the maximum), it is always a curiosity as to who possesses the maximum amount.
Who owns the most bitcoins?
Attributing ownership of Bitcoin is not always possible, as the nature of the cryptocurrency allows the anonymity of its buyers to be maintained. Thus, the names of the Bitcoin owners can be listed based on an analysis of publicly available wallet addresses and blockchain data only. Check below the list of the top 10 Bitcoin holders as of December 21, 2023.
1. Satoshi Nakamoto:
This man or woman is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. He or she is estimated to hold around 1.1 million bitcoins in total, which is representative of just 5.3% of the total supply.
However, the exact location of these coins is unknown till now, but as per the analysis of early mining activities, this may be a strong possibility.
Additionally, one should understand that the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown, and the exact location of their Bitcoin holdings is a mystery.
BitInfoCharts, a website tracking Bitcoin billionaire and millionaire wallets, found out that almost all the top 10 wallet addresses are linked to the Binance and Bitfinex crypto exchanges.
Binance is a major cryptocurrency exchange that is estimated to hold around 918,300 bitcoins, which happens to be almost 4.4% of the total supply. These bitcoins are held on behalf of the users of this cryptocurrency exchange and are not necessarily owned by the exchange itself.
This is another major exchange. Bitfinex is estimated to hold around 415,000 bitcoins, which makes it the owner of 2% of the total supply. Similar to Binance, this figure reflects Bitcoin held for users. A wallet that was linked to Bitfinex held about $6.1 billion worth of bitcoins, amounting to 0.9% of the entire coins in circulation.
This is a publicly traded business intelligence company that has been a vocal proponent of Bitcoin. It holds almost 0.64% of the total supply of bitcoins, or 132,545 BTC in number. MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings are part of its corporate treasury strategy.
5. Marathon Digital Holdings:
This Bitcoin mining company holds around 114,666 bitcoins which makes it 0.55% of the total supply. Marathon Digital focuses on acquiring and operating Bitcoin mining facilities.
6. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust:
GBTC is an investment trust that holds Bitcoin on behalf of its investors. This trust presently holds 643,572 BTC which is around 3.1% of the total supply of bitcoins. GBTC trades on traditional stock exchanges, offering indirect exposure to Bitcoin for investors.
How can we talk about digital currency without Elon’s name in it? His company, Tesla, which is an electric vehicle and clean energy company purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoins in February 2021. It later sold some of its holdings, but still maintains its position in the top 10 bitcoin holders. The most recent estimates suggest that Tesla holds around 9,720 bitcoins or what may be 0.047% of the total supply.
8. Block, Inc.:
This organization was earlier known as Square. It is a financial services and digital payments company that holds around 8,000 BTC. This amount happens to be 0.039% of the total supply of BTC. Block’s Bitcoin holdings are part of its commitment. They do everything from exploring to integrating cryptocurrency into its ecosystem.
9. Galaxy Digital Holdings:
This financial services company specializing in digital assets and blockchain technology holds around 12,545 BTC which is equivalent to 0.06% of the total supply. Galaxy Digital’s Bitcoin holdings are used for many purposes, like investment and liquidity management at the same time.
A big portion of Bitcoin is held in wallets with no known ownership. If we go by the estimates, it can be assumed that anywhere from 20% to 30% of the total supply of bitcoins falls into this category. It is also important to note that these are estimates based on publicly available data and keep changing with new buyers and sellers performing sales deeds over time.
The famous names that can be included in the list of Bitcoin whales are:
- Michael Saylor, entrepreneur and CEO of MicroStrategy, who reportedly owns at least 17,000 BTC
- Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase
- Binance CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao
- Tim Draper- This billionaire techie purchased 30,000 BTC at a discounted rate when the U.S. Marshals Service auctioned them after seizing bitcoins from the Silk Road black market.
- The Winklevoss Twins (known through Facebook)
It can be made clear from above that the ownership of Bitcoin is diverse. Individual investors, companies, and exchanges hold significant amounts of bitcoins and can buy and sell them. This cryptocurrency is not leaving the market anytime soon due to its increasing institutional adoption. Thus, it is hoped that the landscape of its top holders may evolve soon.