Discover the current number of crypto millionaires. Dive into the data and see what is driving the latest cryptocurrency trends.
Ethereum, just like many other crypto ecosystems, is under the influence of a few players holding a large amount of ETH. These “whales” can influence the market through their transactions.
Surprisingly for many, Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum’s founder) does not own the highest amount of ETH. In fact, staking contracts and exchange reserves are the biggest wallets.
This statistics article will answer the question, “Who owns the most Ethereum?” We’ll consider the top 10 wallets, evaluate Buterin’s ETH balance, and look at the market’s bigger picture.
Top 5 Facts on Ethereum Whales
Here are the top facts to know about Ethereum whales:
- The Beacon Deposit Contract, a staking wallet, is the largest Ether wallet, with 32,395,490 ETH. (CoinCarp)
- Binance owns 3 wallets ranking in the top 10 Ether holders, reaching 3,520,646 ETH. (CoinCarp)
- Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder, holds 280,908 ETH across 4 different wallets. (CoinPaper)
- Overall, the top 10 ETH holders have 36.46% of the Ether circulating supply. (CoinCarp)
- If we add up all the Ether (ETH) held by large wallets containing between 1,000 and 10,000 ETH, we obtain 14.03 million ETH. (Cointelegraph)
The Largest ETH Holders
Reserve contracts and exchanges are predominant in the ETH whale list. From the Beacon staking contract to Binance and Kraken, over 1 out of 3 circulating Ether belongs to one of the ten largest ETH holders.
The largest ETH holder is the Beacon Deposit Contract, a popular staking contract for ETH 2.0. This single wallet holds 32,395,490 ETH.
The wrapped ETH reserves wallet ranks second in this list, with a total of 3,191,226 ETH.
Binance owns multiple ETH-only wallets in its reserve portfolio. One of its wallets ranks third in the list, thanks to its 1,996,008 Ether.
By following a similar strategy, Kraken’s main wallet ranks fourth among Ethereum whales, with 1,598,924 ETH.
We find Robinhood’s unique wallet at the fifth place in the ranking, having 1,493,001 Ether.
Arbitrum Bridge owns the last wallet, managing to go above the million ETH threshold (1,230,610 Ether).
Binance has two other wallets containing a significant amount of ETH ranking in this top 10 list. Specifically, the two wallets have, respectively, 939,639 and 584,999 ETH.
The top 10 concludes with two wallets owned by Bitfinex, for a combined amount of 878,172 ETH.
On the Ethereum mainnet, the top 10 holders hold 36.46% of the circulating supply of ETH as of October 2023.
By enlarging our horizon and including the top 50 holders, the market share grows to 43.74%.
By doubling the sample size at the top 100 holders, the share moves to 48.93% of the overall ETH circulating supply.
Interestingly, Vitalik Buterin’s main wallet only ranks 25th among Ethereum whales, with 244,001 ETH.
Table 1: Market Share of ETH Whales – October 2023 (CoinCarp)
|Whale group||Share of circulating supply held|
|Top 10 holders||36.46%|
|Top 20 holders||38.98%|
|Top 50 holders||43.74%|
|Top 100 holders||48.93%|
Vitalik Buterin’s Historical ETH Holdings
Besides large reserves contracts and exchange liquidity wallets, following the changes in Ethereum’s founder ETH holdings gives a new dimension to this analysis. Vitalik Buterin belongs to the ETH whales, and the amount of Ether he holds has changed over time.
Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, famously disclosed to the public owning 4 different wallets holding Ether.
On-chain data shows that 2 out of 4 of these wallets only have a relatively small amount of Ethereum, corresponding to an aggregate of 907 ETH.
The third wallet owned by Buterin holds 36,000 ETH and is considered his secondary address.
The main address to investigate to follow Buterin’s on-chain activity is a popular multi-sig wallet ranking in the top 30 ETH whales under the “Vb 3” pseudonym.
This wallet’s on-chain activity began in May 2021, when Ethereum’s founder owned 325,000 ETH.
In April 2022, the wallet held 320,000 ETH, with a 1.5% yearly reduction.
The first major decline in this wallet’s ETH holdings happened on May 16th, 2022, when the wallet’s Ether holdings stood at 290,000 tokens.
The decline was mainly due to Buterin’s donations to Ukraine following the February 2022 Russian invasion: Ethereum’s founder joined other Web3 stars in the cause and donated $5 million to Kyiv.
Other charitable initiatives led Buterin to decrease the amount of Ether he held in this wallet to 250,001 ETH in November 2022.
The Changes in the ETH Whale Population Over Time
When looking at the ETH whales as an aggregated population, the increase from 2016 to 2020 is hard to ignore. However, the 2020-2021 bull market saw a progressive reduction in the number of whales, reaching a stagnating period in 2022-2023.
As of May 2023, the aggregated number of ETH held by addresses having more than 1,000 and less than 10,000 ETH was equal to 14.03 million.
The number represented a decline from the 14.1 million ETH held by the same wallets in April 2023.
Overall, however, the trend for 2023 remained slightly positive, with a value of 13.9 million ETH recorded in January of the same year.
This value is still far from the peak hit in 2018 when these wallets held 18.4 million ETH.
Despite the 2020-2021 crypto bull market, whales decided to exit the Ethereum ecosystem in this period, declining from 16.8 to a minimum of 13.4 million ETH.
Interestingly, in this same period, the number of addresses holding less than 1 ETH (the so-called “shrimps”) strongly increased its balance, from 650,000 to 1.28 million Ether.
Table 2: Number of ETH held by addresses with over 1,000 Ether – May 2023 (Glassnode)
|Year||Number of ETH|
The power of ETH whales on the Ethereum ecosystem is hard – if not impossible – to deny. In fact, a small group of people and organizations holds a relevant part of the Ether circulating supply.
The strong decline of whales in the 2020-2021 bull run, however, has apparently given back more power to the shrimps of the sector.
Finally, Buterin’s relatively small amount of Ether tells a completely different story than Bitcoin and Satoshi Nakamoto’s large BTC stake. This is yet another difference between the two giants of the crypto sector.
While there is no commonly agreed threshold, an ETH whale is a person or entity holding a relevant amount of Ether in either one or multiple wallets.
As of November 2023, Buterin's publicly known wallets have gathered 280,908 ETH.
Following several disclosing tweets, Buterin's fortune seems to be divided into four wallets. Among these, only two hold a relevant number (over 1,000) of ETH.
Yes, Binance can boast the presence of three wallets belonging to its network in the top 10 ETH holding addresses. Together, these three wallets combine to approximately 3.5 million ETH.
Robinhood, thanks to its 1,493,001 ETH, is, by far, the trading broker with the largest amount of Ether within its reserves.