Who Owns the Most Bitcoin?
Individuals and corporations make up the list of who owns the most Bitcoin. See who they currently are.
- Bitcoin ownership is diverse, with Bitcoin whales holding significant amounts.
- Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to possess around 1 million BTC, making Nakamoto the biggest BTC whale out there.
- Corporations like MicroStrategy, Marathon Digital Holdings, Galaxy Digital Holdings, Coinbase Global Inc., and Tesla Inc., all have integrated significant Bitcoin holdings into their financial strategies, signaling a certain level of institutional acceptance.
Who Owns the Most Bitcoin?
Often referred to as ‘Bitcoin whales’, the top owners of Bitcoin include individuals and corporations, as well as wallet addresses with anonymous owners.
What Is a Bitcoin Whale?
A Bitcoin whale refers to an individual, corporation, or entity that holds a significant amount of Bitcoin in a single wallet or a cluster of wallets.
These substantial holdings give them the ability to influence the market and potentially manipulate the value of the cryptocurrency — like a whale in the ocean, any of their movements will make waves.
Individuals Who Own the Most Bitcoin
Identifying the largest crypto whales is difficult due to the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions. However, there are a few well-known figures in the crypto space who have made their holdings public.
Satoshi Nakamoto: The anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to hold around 1 million BTC in multiple wallets. Given that the total supply of BTC is capped at 21 million, this gives Nakamoto considerable clout.
The Winklevoss Twins: The Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame (accusing Mark Zuckerberg of appropriating their social network idea) are prominent Bitcoin whales. Following the 2012 settlement, they bought Bitcoin — reported to have accounted for approximately 1% of the total Bitcoin supply at that time. Their Bitcoin holdings are believed to add up to around 70,000.
Michael Saylor: American entrepreneur and one of the largest Bitcoin whales, Michael Saylor owns more than 17,000 bitcoins. His company, MicroStrategy, also holds a substantial Bitcoin reserve of almost 160,000.
Changpeng Zhao: The CEO of Binance, Changpeng ’CZ’ Zhao is considered a sizable Bitcoin whale, although specific details about his holdings are not publicly disclosed.
Tim Draper: Venture capitalist Tim Draper purchased 30,000 bitcoins during the Silk Road auction. While his total holdings are unknown, it is believed that he has continued purchasing BTC since then.
Corporations That Own the Most Bitcoin
Besides individuals, several corporations, many from the traditional finance (TradFi) realm, have accumulated substantial Bitcoin holdings. According to the latest data published by CoinGecko, 25 companies are listed to hold a total of over US$6 billion worth of bitcoins, which makes up about 1.2% of all BTC in circulation.
Notable institutional holders of Bitcoin include:
- MicroStrategy Inc. holds almost 160,000 BTC tokens following its most recent purchase in late September 2023.
- Marathon Digital Holdings holds 13,286 BTC coins.
- Galaxy Digital Holdings holds 12,545 BTC coins.
- Tesla Inc. holds 10,500 BTC coins.
Wallet Addresses That Hold the Most Bitcoin
Originally published on Techopedia (article dated Sept. 2023), the below list includes the 10 wallet addresses with the largest Bitcoin holdings. Each of these wallets holds over US$1 billion worth of bitcoins (at the time of writing).
- Address: 34xp4vRoCGJym3xR7yCVPFHoCNxv4Twseo
Holdings: 248,597 BTC
A wallet address linked to Binance holding about US$6 billion worth of BTC (as of September 2023), which amounts to about 1.28% of the circulating supply.
- Address: bc1qgdjqv0av3q56jvd82tkdjpy7gdp9ut8tlqmgrpmv24sq90ecnvqqjwvw97
Holdings: 178,010 BTC
- Address: bc1ql49ydapnjafl5t2cp9zqpjwe6pdgmxy98859v2
Holdings: 118,300 BTC
An anonymous wallet holding US$3 billion worth of BTC tokens (0.6% of the circulating supply).
- Address: 39884E3j6KZj82FK4vcCrkUvWYL5MQaS3v
Holdings: 115,177 BTC
- Address: bc1qazcm763858nkj2dj986etajv6wquslv8uxwczt
Holdings: 94,643 BTC
- Address: 37XuVSEpWW4trkfmvWzegTHQt7BdktSKUs
Holdings: 94,505 BTC
- Address: 1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF
Holdings: 79,957 BTC
- Address: bc1qa5wkgaew2dkv56kfvj49j0av5nml45x9ek9hz6
Holdings: 69,370 BTC
- Address: 3LYJfcfHPXYJreMsASk2jkn69LWEYKzexb
Holdings: 68,200 BTC
- Address: bc1qd4ysezhmypwty5dnw7c8nqy5h5nxg0xqsvaefd0qn5kq32vwnwqqgv4rzr
Holdings: 59,300 BTC
The landscape of Bitcoin ownership is complex, comprising an array of individuals, corporations, and anonymous wallet addresses that hold large amounts of Bitcoin — often referred to as ‘Bitcoin whales’. While the decentralised nature of Bitcoin transactions makes it challenging to ascertain the true extent of these holdings, we have provided a glimpse into the world of the largest Bitcoin stakeholders in each category.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not backed by a physical commodity or government, and their value is determined by market demand and supply. Cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services, transfer funds, and trade in markets. Popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Cronos.
Many cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are created through a process called mining, which involves solving complex mathematical equations to validate and record transactions on a blockchain. This mechanism is also called Proof of Work (PoW). Another consensus mechanism that has increased in popularity — as it is more energy efficient — is Proof of Stake (PoS). Instead of mining, PoS relies on network participants validating transactions. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, uses this consensus mechanism.
Unlike traditional fiat currency, which is controlled by central banks and governments, Bitcoin operates independently of any central authority. Transactions are verified and recorded on the blockchain, which is a distributed ledger that maintains a permanent and transparent record of all transactions.
Bitcoin can be bought, sold, and exchanged on various cryptocurrency exchanges, and it can be used to purchase goods and services from merchants that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. The supply of bitcoins is limited to 21 million units, and new bitcoins are created through mining, which involves using specialized computer hardware to solve complex mathematical equations.
Bitcoin is known for its high volatility, and its value can fluctuate rapidly in response to market conditions, news events, and other factors. Many traders, including institutional investors, see Bitcoin as a store of value and a way to participate in the growing cryptocurrency ecosystem.
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- Mining: Cryptocurrency mining involves using specialized computer hardware to solve complex mathematical equations that validate transactions on a blockchain network. Successful miners are rewarded with newly minted cryptocurrency for their efforts.
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