Since its launch about 13 years ago, bitcoin has been distributed to millions of wallets. These Bitcoin wallets are owned by individuals, public companies, private entities, and even governments. Among these holders, some exited because of their large bitcoin holdings.
Read on to find out who has the most bitcoins and how much they have.
Who Owns the Most Bitcoins in the World?
Large bitcoin holders with 1,000 or more BTC are known as whales. It can be individuals, companies, institutional investors, and even countries. Below is a list of entities and individuals who own the most bitcoins.
Top Known individual owners
Let’s take a look at the individuals who hold the most bitcoins.
Satoshi Nakamoto (~1.1 million BTC)
Satoshi Nakamoto not only the founder of Bitcoin but also the first miner to add transaction blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain. He mined approximately 22,000 blocks from January 3, 2009, until he left the project in 2011, earning 1.1 million BTC in exchange for his contributions. By October 12, 2022, this amount will be more than $21 billion. Satoshi’s bitcoin deposits are stored in approximately 22,000 addresses. This coin has never been used except for some test transactions.
The Winklevoss Twins (70,000 BTC)
After settling a dispute with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in 2008 for $65 million, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss amassed a fortune in crypto assets. He reportedly has 70,000 BTC and has invested in many crypto businesses through his VC firm, Winklevoss Capital. The twins have also invested in other cryptocurrencies besides bitcoin and founded the Gemini crypto exchange in 2014. They are on the Forbes 2022 blockchain and crypto billionaires list.
Tim Draper (29,000+ BTC)
Venture capitalist Tim Draper, known for his early investments in companies such as Skype and Tesla, first bought bitcoin in 2012. This was followed by the purchase of 29,656 BTC for $18.7 million two years later through the US Marshals auction of bitcoins seized from the infamous dark web market, Silk Road. Draper may buy more BTC in the coming years.
Michael Saylor (17,732 BTC)
Michael Saylor is a well-known Bitcoin maximalist. You will often find him publishing bullish Bitcoin tweets or making headlines through his company MicroStrategy, which is constantly buying bitcoins, even in a crypto bear market. On a personal note, however, Saylor reportedly has at least 17,732 bitcoins. American businessman revealed private bitcoin ownership in November 2021 interview.
Many other people have a lot of BTC but have not disclosed the amount. For example, this data from River Financial shows six unknown individuals with more than 49,000 BTC in their possession.
Top Companies Holding Bitcoin
Let’s take a look at the companies that hold the most bitcoins.
More than 20 public companies have added bitcoin (BTC) to the balance sheet. Here are the top four.
MicroStrategy (130,000 BTC)
MicroStrategy (MSTR) is a prolific bitcoin buyer. Since the first purchase in August 2020, the company has not been able to buy more. Based on the purchase history on Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, MicroStrategy has made more than 20 bitcoin purchases, bringing its total holdings to 130,000 BTC on September 20, 2022. The company may have inspired other public companies to add BTC to their balance sheets.
In its latest purchase, MicroStrategy bought 301 BTC in September for $6 million despite the bear market. The average purchase price per coin is $30,623. Earlier in the month, the company filed for a $500 million stock sale to buy more bitcoins.
Galaxy Digital Holdings (40,000 BTC)
Galaxy Digital Kab (GLXY) is a financial services and investment management company that also participates Bitcoin mining. The company has 40,000 BTC in its possession.
Voyager Digital Limited (12,260 BTC)
Voyager Digital Kab (VYGVQ) may have held 12,260 BTC when it filed for bankruptcy in July 2022. Crypto exchange FTX will acquire the assets of the bankrupt crypto broker after winning the bid at the end of September 2022. Voyager quoted bear market and the collapse of Three Arrows Capital is the reason for this filing for bankruptcy. Three Arrows has defaulted on a loan provided by one of its subsidiaries.
Tesla Inc. (10,725 BTC)
Tesla (TSLA) bought $1.5 billion of bitcoins in February 2021 (about 4,200 BTC), causing excitement in the crypto space. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted “#bitcoin,” a post that caused a 17% spike in the digital asset’s price. Tesla also announced plans to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.
However, the excitement of this news was short-lived because a few months later, Tesla suspended the purchase of cars using BTC. It said it will resume BTC payments if Bitcoin mining with renewable energy reaches 50%. Additionally, selling 75% of bitcoin holdings during the 2022 crypto bear market added $936 million to the balance sheet. This move contradicts Musk’s 2021 tweet that said: “Tesla will not sell Bitcoin.”
Other public companies that own bitcoins are Coinbase GlobalArgo Blockchain PLC, Hut 8 Mining Corp, and Bitfarms Limited, among others.
Let’s take a look at the largest known bitcoin holders among private companies.
Mt. Gox (141,686 BTC)
Mt Gox is one of the earliest Bitcoin exchanges. It was launched in 2010 and handled 70% of all global Bitcoin transactions when it ceased operations in early 2014. The Japanese exchange fell victim to several hacking attacks that result in the loss of user funds. The exchange filed for bankruptcy in April 2014.
The announcement of September 2022 states that the client Mt. Gox is close to receiving a $3 billion bitcoin payment that will redistribute the stolen funds. The now-defunct company reportedly had 141,686 BTC.
Block.one (140,000 BTC)
Block.one is the company behind the cryptocurrency EOS (EOS). The company was sued by investors in 2020, claiming that the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was a sale of securities. It also faced resistance from the EOS community, which believed that the company was no longer pursuing the interests of the network. Block.one still has 140,000 bitcoins.
Tezos Foundation (17,500 BTC)
The Tezos Foundation is a Swiss-based entity that supports the Tezos protocol and ecosystem. The notice contained approximately 17,500 BTC.
State & Government
Some notable countries and governments that have reportedly accumulated bitcoin holdings include the government of Ukraine (46,351 BTC), El Salvador (2,381 BTC), Finland (1,981 BTC), and the government of Georgia (66 BTC).
Top 3 Biggest Bitcoin Wallets
At the time of writing, more than 900,000 addresses have balances of 1-1,000,000 BTC, according to BitInfoCharts’ Bitcoin Rich list.
As you can imagine, some addresses have huge amounts of digital currency. For example, there are only five addresses with BTC balances ranging from 100,000 -1,000,000. The address accounts for 4.32% of the bitcoins in circulation. As the number of bitcoins decreases to 10,000, 1,000, 100, and 10, the number of addresses holding those balances increases, as shown in the table below.
Binance and Bitfinex have the largest Bitcoin wallets. One Binance cold wallet holds 252,597 BTC, while another has 143,314 BTC. On the other hand, the Bitfinex cold wallet contains 168,010 BTC. Crypto exchanges may not have all of these coins because they also have users’ Bitcoin deposits. Three wallets contain 2.9% of the total circulating supply of Bitcoin. As of October 13, 2022, there are 19,177,431 BTC coins in circulation.
The total amount of Bitcoin wallet around 200 million, but this does not reflect the number of Bitcoin owners, as one person or entity can have more than one wallet.
As a new or current Bitcoin investor, it is important to remember that the largest holders have accumulated a Bitcoin portfolio over time and also have a large amount of capital at their disposal.
They may have the advantage of being early adopters, having the opportunity to buy a lot of bitcoins for a relatively small amount of money in the early years of Bitcoin. So if you want to build a big investment position in bitcoin, it’s okay to take your time and remember not to invest what you can’t lose.