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A large part of Bitcoin’s ecosystem is surrounded by mystery. Knowing that Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin network, is the largest BTC owner won’t surprise many.
However, as we delve deeper into this market, we may find more surprising facts. Exchanges, public and private companies, government agencies, and even hackers own an impressive amount of Bitcoin in their wallets.
This statistics article will guide you in answering the question, “Who owns the most Bitcoin?” It won’t end here, as we will have the chance to gain a deeper insight into who owns the most Bitcoin in the whole BTC niche.
Top 5 Facts on Bitcoin Whales
Here are the top facts you should know about Bitcoin whales:
- Satoshi Nakamoto – the founder of Bitcoin – owns 1.1 million BTC across thousands of wallets. (River)
- Binance is the leading exchange in terms of Bitcoin holdings, with 498,147 BTC in its wallets. (River)
- Robinhood is the broker with the largest BTC holdings, corresponding to 118,300 Bitcoin. (River)
- The number of wallets holding over 0.1% of the BTC supply was equal to 42 as of September 2023. (Coindcx)
- The number of wallets holding over 1,000 BTC peaked at the beginning of 2021 at 2,090, declining to 1,520 as of October 2023. (Glassnode)
Table 1: Top 10 Bitcoin wallet list.
|Rank||BTC Holdings||Dollar Value||Notes|
|1||248,597||$6.4 billion||Binance cold wallet|
|2||178,010||$4.6 billion||Bitfinex cold wallet|
|3||118,300||$3 billion||Robinhood wallet|
|4||115,177||$3 billion||Binance cold wallet|
|5||94,643||$2.4 billion||FBI wallet (BTC from 2016 Bitfinex hack)|
|6||94,505||$2.4 billion||Unidentified owner|
|7||79,957||$2 billion||Mt. Gox hacker wallet|
|8||69,370||$1.8 billion||FBI wallet (BTC confiscated from Silk Road)|
|9||68,200||$1.7 billion||Binance BTCB reserve|
|10||59,300||$1.5 billion||Unidentified owner|
A Look at Large Bitcoin Holders
The mysterious founder of the Bitcoin empire is, by far, the world’s largest cryptocurrency or BTC holder. While this fact may not surprise many bitcoin holders, the other publicly-known crypto owners may be surprised in different categories, from individual bitcoin billionaires to public companies.
As of August 2023, Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin concept, reportedly held 1.1 million BTC units.
This amount was spread around 22,000 different Bitcoin addresses, making the task of tracking Nakamoto’s Bitcoin addresses and holdings particularly complex.
In terms of individuals, two unknown entities follow Nakamoto’s dominance, with 94,643 and 94,505 BTC stored in single wallets, respectively.
The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, own 70,000 BTC in bitcoin wealth in their investment portfolio.
How much bitcoin do exchanges hold?
If we move to the crypto exchanges, Binance owns the most bitcoin with 498,147 BTC, divided into at least 4 officially reported wallets.
Bitfinex follows Binance from far behind with its 192,508 BTC, located in at least 2 officially reported wallets.
OKX owns 118,334 BTC, divided among at least 8 wallets officially marked as owned by the crypto exchange itself.
The popular crypto exchange, Robinhood, also owns a relevant amount of Bitcoin, estimated at 118,300 BTC on a single wallet.
In terms of companies, MicroStrategy owns 158,245 BTC.
If we look at MicroStrategy’s BTC transactions over time, it reveals that it owns the most bitcoin compared to any publicly traded company. They have purchased Bitcoin at an average price of $29,582 per token.
Source: River, BuyBitcoinWorldwide
Table 2: Amount of BTC Holding across Publicly Traded Companies (BuyBitcoinWorldwide)
|Company||Number of BTC|
|Marathon Digital Holdings Inc||13,726|
|Hut 8 Mining Corp||9,366|
|Coinbase Global, Inc.||9,000|
|Galaxy Digital Holdings||8,100|
|Riot Platforms, Inc.||7,327|
|Bitcoin Group SE||3,830|
|HIVE Digital Technologies||3,350|
How Bitcoin Whales Change Over Time
One of the most interesting facts coming from data observation is the evidence that the number of Bitcoin whales tends to peak way before the BTC price. A look at the change in the number of whales over time gives us an unexpected perception of the whole sector.
As of October 2023, the number of entities owning more than 1,000 BTC was equal to 1,520.
At the beginning of 2023, the number was equal to 1,530, hinting at a stagnation in the Bitcoin mining and whale niche.
It wasn’t always this way: in January 2021, the number of entities with more than 1,000 BTC was 2,090.
The 2021 data marked a peak in the sector, which had exhibited strong growth over the years, compared to the 1,680 entities holding over 1,000 BTC at the beginning of 2018.
If we consider this data, we notice that the decline in Bitcoin whales managed to anticipate by 3 quarters the BTC price peak, which occurred only in November 2021.
When focusing on the even richer Bitcoin owners, the numbers are much smaller: the number of Bitcoin addresses with over 0.1% of the BTC supply was equal to 42 in September 2023.
At the beginning of 2023, this amount of addresses was equal to 41. During the same year, the peak was recorded in March at 44, while the minimum was 39 in May.
Source: Glassnode, Coindcx
Table 3: Number of entities owning more than 1,000 BTC (Glassnode)
|Date||Number of entities|
The Richest Wallets in the Bitcoin Ecosystem
It is not only rich exchanges and mysterious digital currency owners with large quantities of BTC: the FBI holds a relatively large amount of crypto due to legal confiscations. The Mt Gox hacker also has an impressive number of Bitcoins in a single wallet.
Binance holds the largest amount of Bitcoin in a single wallet, with a staggering 248,597 BTC deposited at one address.
Following the previously mentioned 118,300 BTC in a single Robinhood wallet, we find Bitcoin transactions in another address owned by Binance with 115,177 Bitcoin.
Interestingly, the fourth largest Bitcoin amount in one single wallet lies in the hands of the FBI. 94,643 BTC are located at an address linked to the Bitfinex hack of 2016.
Following the massive Silk Road legal confiscation, the FBI also holds another large amount of Bitcoin (69,370) in a single wallet.
The infamous Mt. Gox hacker owns 79,957 BTC in a wallet, an amount closely monitored by multiple investigative sources.
Several unidentified owners hold a large part of the total Bitcoin supply. Two wallets are joining the top 10 list of crypto whales thanks to, respectively, 94,505 and 59,300 BTC.
To better understand these numbers, it is also worth mentioning that 6 million Bitcoins are officially considered irretrievably lost.
Source: CryptoNews, NewsBTC
So, who owns the most bitcoin? In conclusion, the distribution of Bitcoin ownership is concentrated in a few key entities. These include well-known exchanges, companies holding Bitcoin itself, and anonymous wallets, often referred to as ‘whales.’
Satoshi Nakamoto is the largest BTC owner and Bitcoin millionaire, and entities such as Binance, MicroStrategy, and even the FBI hold a significant amount of this coin.
The fact that the number of wallets holding more than 0.1% of the overall BTC supply is not growing may signal a degree of caution in the cryptocurrency market, proving that crypto whales are a fundamental indicator to assess the crypto market’s health.
Binance is the entity that owns the highest amount of Bitcoin in a single wallet, with 248,597 BTC. The exchange owns several crypto addresses holding smaller amounts of BTC and other coins.
The data clearly shows that the number of BTC whales peaked at the beginning of 2021, while BTC prices only began to decline at the end of the year. This is a strong argument favoring the whale anticipation of market events.
Yes, the FBI holds a large amount of Bitcoin due to famous legal confiscations. Two wallets belonging to the FBI hold all the bitcoins funds confiscated from the Bitfinex hack of 2016 and the Silk Road case.
While no one knows who hacked Mt. Gox, this mysterious wallet holds 79,957 BTC from former clients of the exchange.
The official estimation mentions that 6 million bitcoins should be considered as "irretrievably lost."