Data shows that the amount of bitcoin smaller entities hold has more than doubled over the past five years, while BTC whales have seen their holdings decline significantly over the same period.
According to on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, the percentage of bitcoin’s supply held by entities with 10 BTC or less has grown from 5.1% to 13.8% since June 2015, while entities with 100 to 100,000 BTC – colloquially known as whales – have seen their bitcoin holdings drop from 62.9% to 49.8%.
The figure suggests that as bitcoin matures and adoption rises, the cryptocurrency is also becoming more decentralized, as whales and large investors become less dominant in the market. Part of the decline in the percentage of BTC held by whales can likely be attributed to inactive wallets, as early adopters mined 50 BTC per block with ease, but many became inactive.
Despite being inactive, some still pay attention to the market. As CryptoGlobe reported earlier this year an early bitcoin miner signed a message on the Bitcoin blockchain with over 140 different wallets, calling the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright a “liar and a fraud,” and signing off with “we are all Satoshi.”
In its report, Glassnode pointed out that “control of bitcoin’s supply has been steadily shifting towards smaller entities.” Around 18.6 million BTC are in circulation today, out of the 21 million bitcoins that will ever be issued. An estimated 4 million coins are believed to be lost.
Bitcoin whales, it’s worth noting, have in the past been accused of manipulating the market through various tactics, which include wash trading, pump and dump schemes, and more.
In a report published back in June, Glassnode revealed that the number of BTC whales with over 1,000 coins in their wallets had risen to 1,882, from around 1,650 in January. The average balance by each whale has decreased over said period, so much so bitcoin whales now hold, on average, less than what they did in 2016.
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