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The Whales of Crypto - Top 10 Bitcoin Holders
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Any pool would seem big until you put a whale in it. What happens then is wherever you try to swim, you’d never get away from it staring you down.
The pool of bitcoin is rather big considering its price, but it isn’t expanding. There are roughly 18.9 million bitcoins in supply, with 2 million left yet to be mined. When there is a limited supply, there is competition.
Within the bitcoin competition, a handful of people have taken the lead. The amount they own could have accounted for millions of transactions. Convert that to energy consumption, we’ll get like, an astronomical number.
Here are some of the largest bitcoin holders in the space. Note that not all of them are necessarily people. They can be entities and organizations or even a country.
Having ancestry connected to the Silicon Valley business, Tim Draper knows a good opportunity when he sees one.
He saw the potential of bitcoin in the early years. Hence, he bought 30,000 of them in 2014 when bitcoin was still at a mere $600. Fast forward seven years, he’s now worth over $1.3 billion just in crypto alone.
Draper has his hands in various corporate empires, including Baidu, Tesla and Skype.
Barry Silbert is also an early bitcoin investor. We’re starting to see a pattern here, it seems.
In 2013 he founded DCG - Digital Currency Group, which consisted of five crypto-based companies. Their main function is investing in cryptocurrency start-ups and over the years have accumulated around $28 billion worth of bitcoin, Ethereum, and other currencies.
Silbert himself has bought 48,000 bitcoins a year after founding DCG from the FBI. Those assets had been seized by the government during a financial crime investigation.
Not too many people believed a company like Tesla would voluntarily get entangled with cryptocurrency, but it did. Or maybe Elon Musk’s enthusiasm is just too strong.
Nevertheless, the electric car company now owns over $2 billion worth of bitcoin. What’s interesting is this information is listed on their public balance sheet. It seems Tesla wants the world to know its open relationship with bitcoin.
Customers can also purchase Tesla cars and products using cryptocurrency. The first S model was bought in 2013 using bitcoin from a Lamborghini dealership.
The Winklevoss Twins
The Winklevoss brothers are the wunderkinds of crypto as many have said. Either that or they’re just a couple of extreme opportunists
Regardless of the case, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are some of the biggest bitcoin holders with each having $3 billion worth. Together they used their fortune to found Winklevoss Capital, an angel investor company. Its main focus is crypto-based startups and overall has funded more than 100 different projects.
While there isn’t an exact number of bitcoin held, Brian Armstrong does own 19% of Coinbase, a crypto exchange platform. So, technically, he can pull out lots of bitcoin on demand.
He founded Coinbase in 2012 and went on to become a billionaire by 2018. A few years later, his shares in the company went up to $15 billion.
Coinbase has been raking in a healthy revenue despite the recent hack. In 2021 the exchange brought in over $1 billion in the first quarter. Brian’s personal net worth is nearly $9 billion.
Bitcoin was all fun and games back in the 2010s. Then, things got serious when big corporations entered the game and new billionaires emerged. But when a country gets in on it? You know there’s no turning back.
In 2019, Bulgaria became the first country to have more cryptocurrency than it has gold. With over 200,000 bitcoins in its holding, Bulgaria is a major contender in the crypto race.
This level of holding also gives the country leverage over surrounding nations should they decide to join the game. Recent reports claimed Bulgaria currently has over $9 billion worth of BTC.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The FBI is known to intermittently hold large amounts of bitcoin along with other crypto assets. Due to the nature of their work, their bitcoin holdings almost entirely come from seized properties.
They would then auction the seized bitcoins to interested buyers. Barry Silbert bought 48,000 BTC from the Bureau in 2013. If you count all the bitcoin that has ever passed through the FBI it might be in the millions. Their current reserve is reportedly 144,000 BTC.
Microstrategy (Michael Saylor)
Founded by Michael Saylor, Microstrategy is an analytics software company with cloud-based services.
The company has a keen interest in bitcoin and vows to stay on the train indefinitely. As of now, Microstrategy has over 122,000 bitcoins and this number can only go up. Michael Saylor himself owns just under 18,000 bitcoins.
Roger Ver has the nickname 'Crypto Jesus', because his holdings are nothing short of godly. Like most bitcoin investors, Roger started very early, even earlier than Barry Silbert and the likes. He bought somewhere around 400,000 bitcoins when no one cared about it.
Nowadays, it’s rumored he still has about 300,000 of those left. You do the math to see how much that’s worth. He’s also been toying with the idea of selling them all.
We’d be crazy not to put the bitcoin inventor himself (or herself?) on this list. With reportedly over 1 million bitcoins in holding, this crypto shadow is watching the rest of us sheep on his silent throne, possibly judging our financial decisions.
The influence on the bitcoin market Satoshi has is unimaginable. He could literally plummet the price in one day and skyrocket it on the next if he chose to. We hope that day will never come, but Roger Ver is already planning on doing something of that degree.
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