Since its inception around 13 years ago, Bitcoin has been distributed to millions of wallets around the world. These Bitcoin wallets are owned by individuals, public companies, private entities, and even governments. Among these owners, a few stand out for their large Bitcoin holdings.
Read on to find out who owns the most bitcoins and how much they own.
Who owns the most bitcoins in the world?
Large bitcoin holders with 1,000 BTC or more are known as whales. These can be individuals, companies, institutional investors and even countries. Below is a list of companies and individuals who hold the most bitcoins.
Well-known top owners
Let’s take a look at who owns the most bitcoins.
Satoshi Nakamoto (~1.1 million BTC)
Besides being the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto was also the first miner to add transaction blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain. From January 3, 2009 until his exit from the project in 2011, he mined around 22,000 blocks and received 1.1 million BTC in exchange for his contribution. As of October 12, 2022, this amount was worth more than $21 billion. Satoshi’s bitcoin holdings are spread across approximately 22,000 addresses. These coins have never been used except for some test transactions.
The Winklevoss Twins (70,000 BTC)
After settling a dispute with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for $65 million in 2008, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have amassed a great fortune in cryptocurrencies. They reportedly own 70,000 BTC and invested in numerous crypto companies through their venture capital firm Winklevoss Capital. The twins have also invested in other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin and founded the crypto exchange Gemini in 2014. They were on the Forbes 2022 list of blockchain and crypto billionaires.
Tim Draper (29,000+ BTC)
Venture capitalist Tim Draper, known for his early investments in companies like Skype and Tesla, first bought Bitcoin in 2012. Two years later, he bought 29,656 BTC for $18.7 million during a an auction by the US Marshals of Bitcoin seized on the notorious Dark Web marketplace, Silk Road. Draper may have bought even more BTC in subsequent years.
Michael Saylor (17,732 BTC)
Michael Saylor is a well-known Bitcoin maximalist. He often posts bullish bitcoin tweets or makes headlines about his company MicroStrategy constantly buying bitcoin, even during crypto bear markets. Personally, however, Saylor reportedly owns at least 17,732 Bitcoins. The American entrepreneur revealed his personal Bitcoin holdings in an interview in November 2021.
Many other people own large amounts of BTC but have not publicly disclosed the amounts. For example, this data from River Financial shows six strangers with over 49,000 BTC in their possession.
Top Companies Owning Bitcoin
Let’s take a look at the companies that own the most bitcoins.
More than 20 public companies have added Bitcoin (BTC) to their balance sheets. Here is the list of the four largest owners.
MicroStrategy (130,000 BTC)
MicroStrategy (MSTR) is a prolific bitcoin buyer. Since its initial purchase in August 2020, the company can’t help but keep buying. Purchase history on Buy Bitcoin Worldwide shows that MicroStrategy has made over 20 purchases of Bitcoin, bringing its total holdings to 130,000 BTC as of September 20, 2022. The company may have inspired other listed companies to add BTC to their balance sheets.
In its last purchase, MicroStrategy bought 301 BTC for $6 million in September, despite the bear market. The average purchase price per piece was $30,623. Earlier this month, the company requested the sale of $500 million in stock to buy more bitcoins.
Galaxy Digital Funds (40,000 BTC)
Galaxy Digital (GLXY) is a financial services and investment management company that is also engaged in bitcoin mining. The company holds 40,000 BTC in its holdings.
Voyager Digital Limited (12,260 BTC)
Voyager Digital (VYGVQ) had possibly 12,260 BTC when it filed for bankruptcy in July 2022. Crypto exchange FTX will take over the bankrupt crypto broker’s assets after winning the bid in late September 2022. Voyager has cited the bear market and the collapse of Three Arrows Capital as reasons for filing for bankruptcy. Three Arrows had defaulted on a loan from one of its subsidiaries.
Tesla, Inc. (10,725 BTC)
Tesla (TSLA) bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin (about 4,200 BTC) in February 2021, causing a lot of excitement in the crypto world. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted “#bitcoin”, a message which led to a 17% increase in the price of the digital asset. Tesla also announced its intention to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment.
The excitement over the news was short-lived, however, as a few months later Tesla suspended car purchases with BTC. Tesla has announced that it will resume BTC payments once renewable energy bitcoin mining reaches 50%. Additionally, the company sold 75% of its bitcoin holdings during the 2022 crypto bear market, adding $936 million to its balance sheet. The move contrasted with Musk’s tweet from 2021, in which he said, “Tesla won’t sell bitcoin.”
Other public companies that own bitcoin include Coinbase Global, Argo Blockchain PLC, Hut 8 Mining Corp, and Bitfarms Limited.
Let’s take a look at the largest known Bitcoin holders among private companies.
Mount Gox (141,686 BTC)
Mt. Gox was one of the first Bitcoin exchanges. Founded in 2010, it handled 70% of all global bitcoin transactions when it ceased operations in early 2014. The Japanese exchange has been the victim of multiple hacking attacks, which have resulted in the loss of user funds. In April 2014, the exchange filed for bankruptcy.
In September 2022, it was revealed that Mt. Gox customers were about to receive a payment of $3 billion in bitcoins to redistribute the stolen funds. The now defunct company is said to hold 141,686 BTC.
Block.one (140,000 BTC)
Block.one is the company behind the EOS (EOS) cryptocurrency. The company was sued in 2020 by investors who claimed its initial coin offering (ICO) was a sale of securities. It also faces opposition from the EOS community, who believe the company is no longer working for the benefit of the network. Block.one still owns 140,000 Bitcoins.
The Tezos Foundation (17,500 BTC)
The Tezos Foundation is a Swiss-based organization that supports the Tezos protocol and ecosystem. She reportedly owns around 17,500 BTC.
countries and governments
Some of the notable countries and governments that have allegedly amassed Bitcoin holdings are 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, over 900,000 addresses held 1-1,000,000 BTC balances according to the BitInfoCharts Bitcoin Rich List.
As you can imagine, only a few addresses hold extremely large amounts of digital currency. For example, there were only five addresses with BTC balances between 100,000 and 1,000,000. These addresses represent 4.32% of bitcoins in circulation. As the bitcoin amount decreases to 10,000, 1,000, 100, and 10, the number of addresses with those balances increases, as shown in the table below.
Binance and Bitfinex have the largest Bitcoin wallets. One Binance cold wallet contains 252,597 BTC, while the other contains 143,314 BTC. The Bitfinex cold wallet, on the other hand, contains 168,010 BTC. Crypto exchanges do not necessarily own all of these coins, as they also hold users’ bitcoin deposits. The three wallets contain 2.9% of the total Bitcoin volume in circulation. On October 13, 2022, there were 19,177,431 BTC coins in circulation.
The total number of bitcoin wallets is around 200 million, but this does not accurately reflect the number of bitcoin owners, as a person or organization may own more than one wallet.
As a new or current Bitcoin investor, it is important to remember that the greatest holders have accumulated their Bitcoin portfolios over time and may have held large amounts of capital.
They may also have had the advantage of being among the early adopters who were able to purchase a lot of bitcoins for a relatively small amount in the early years of bitcoin. So, if you want to build a large investment position in Bitcoin, you need to take your time and remember that you should never invest in anything you can’t afford to lose.