Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, is presumed to be the largest holder of the currency, in possession of 1.1 million BTC (>$50 billion). While nobody knows for certain how much Satoshi holds, research suggests that he acquired this amount as a reward for mining 22,000 blocks. The largest BTC holding entity is Coinbase with approximately 1 million BTC, whereas the individual wallet holding the largest amount of BTC is a Binance exchange wallet, with almost 250,000 Bitcoin.
Using Arkham, we can see which specific wallets hold the most Bitcoin:
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency which operates on the blockchain - a peer-to-peer network. Because of these properties, nobody is the real owner of the Bitcoin network as a whole, but individuals can access & own the Bitcoin controlled by their own private keys.
Bitcoin’s substantial appreciation in price, to around $69,000 in November 2021 and a peak market capitalization of $1.3 trillion, has consequently produced several Bitcoin millionaires and other affluent holders along the way. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the people, companies and wallets which have become crypto whales and investigate the amounts of Bitcoin they hold, based on on-chain data and their own public announcements.
Note: Bitcoin’s price is constantly fluctuating and the amount of BTC held by specific wallets may change over time. To stay up to date with the latest, sign up to Arkham and review our Bitcoin token page to see the top token holders.
While there are many holders of large amounts of Bitcoin who are not known, many of them are de-anonymized and well known through public disclosures or research.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin is claimed to be the largest Bitcoin holder in possession of 1.1 million BTC stored across 22,000 addresses. While we do not know for certain exactly how much Bitcoin Satoshi holds, as the first miner on the network, he may have mined over 22,000 blocks from 2009 to 2010 and received 1.1 million BTC as block rewards. However, while it is presumed that these rewards were collected by a single entity, we cannot know with complete certainty whether these are Satoshi’s Bitcoin, or who Satoshi actually is.
Here is an example of a known Satoshi address, which you can examine on Arkham: 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.
The Winklevoss twins (Tyler and Cameron), who are the founders of Gemini, revealed in 2013 that they had purchased 1% of the total Bitcoin supply at the time. This is estimated to be approximately 70,000 BTC.
Renowned VC Tim Draper purchased 29,656 BTC for $18.7 million from the U.S Marshals in 2014. Draper then participated in a second Bitcoin auction in December 2014 where he was able to purchase an additional 2,000 BTC. The Bitcoin was initially seized from the Silk Road marketplace and subsequently auctioned off and purchased by Draper. (Full disclosure: Draper is one of Arkham’s investors through his firm Draper Associates.)
Michael Saylor, Co-Founder of MicroStrategy, revealed his personal Bitcoin holdings of 17,732 BTC in November 2021. Renowned for his extremely bullish stance on the asset, Saylor has become a prominent figure in crypto culture. He maintains an active media presence on Twitter and elsewhere, where he is vocal in his support for Bitcoin’s ethos.
With the growing adoption and recognition of Bitcoin’s value as a digital asset, public companies have embraced Bitcoin as part of their investment strategies or diversification of corporate reserves.
MicroStrategy, led by Michael Saylor, holds more Bitcoin than any other public company. The company has been accumulating Bitcoin since August 2020 and their most recent purchase was spending $29.3 million for 1,045 Bitcoin in April 2023. This brought their total holdings to 140,000 Bitcoin.
Galaxy Digital offers a range of asset management, trading & other institutional services. Founded by Mike Novogratz, in their 2022-23 public filings, Galaxy Digital reported $357 million in Bitcoin holdings. However, this figure does not factor in any digital asset loan payables or collateral payables.
Additionally, Marathon Digital Holdings is a publicly traded Bitcoin mining company in North America and another large holder of BTC. They run 9 mining facilities and mine 24.4 Bitcoin on average per day. In their quarterly filing for the period ending in March 31, 2023, Marathon Digital reportedly holds 11,466 Bitcoin.
Tesla reportedly holds 10,700 Bitcoin. This was originally revealed in Tesla’s 10-K filings on February 2021 where it disclosed 7.5% of the company’s cash was used to purchase $1.5 billion of Bitcoin. The company initially stated it would also start accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for its products but it was soon renounced citing climate change concerns. With the crypto markets crashing in 2022, Tesla offloaded 75% of its Bitcoin during Q2 of 2022 and realized $140 million in losses. Since then, there have been no changes to Tesla’s Bitcoin holdings.
Finally, Voyager Digital was a publicly traded company founded in 2018 that filed for bankruptcy in 2022 due to market volatility and Three Arrows Capital defaulting on a $350 million USDC and 15,250 Bitcoin loan. According to Voyager’s last quarterly filing for the end of March 31, 2022, it held 25,171 Bitcoin. Voyager has been gradually liquidating these holdings.
Mt. Gox was a Bitcoin exchange based in Japan that suffered a massive Bitcoin hack resulting in the exchange shutting down and filing for bankruptcy in 2014. Over the years, the appointed trustees have been able to locate some of the lost Bitcoin. The Mt. Gox wallets currently hold 137,892 BTC.
Tether, the issuer of the stablecoin USDT with a circulating supply of 83.4 billion reported $1.5 billion in Bitcoin holdings in March 31, 2023. In Q1 of 2021, Tether reported $1.48 billion in net profit and stated from May, they will regularly allocate up to 15% of their net realized operating profits towards purchasing Bitcoin.
Following the launch of Bitcoin spot ETFs in the United States in January 2024, Arkham was the first to identify the locations of the holdings of all of the ETFs on-chain. These include the following: BlackRock (100K BTC), Fidelity (14K BTC), Bitwise (20K BTC), Franklin Templeton (1.5K BTC), ARK Invest (23K BTC), Invesco (6.8K BTC), VanEck (3.5K BTC), Valkyrie (2.7K BTC), WisdomTree (500 BTC).
Grayscale is an asset manager that offers a range of products for public markets. The company is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group. All digital assets from Grayscale’s financial products are also stored under the custody of Coinbase. While Grayscale publicly reports their BTC balances, they had refused to identify the on-chain addresses of the trust - Arkham was able to find these on-chain, totalling 468K BTC spread across >1750 different addresses, with each holding no more than 1000 BTC.
Unlike most countries that have confiscated and held Bitcoin following criminal arrests, El Salvador and the Central African Republic have boldly embraced Bitcoin as legal tender. El Salvador famously purchased 2,546 BTC at a cost of $108 million. Moreover, in November 2022, President of El Salvador Nayyib Bukele announced that the country would also be purchasing 1 Bitcoin every day.
Since the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Ukraine has also received $22.8 million in Bitcoin donations. Based on Ukrainian government data reported in April 2021, more than 700,000 public officials in Ukraine have also declared owning Bitcoin with some individuals owning as much as 18,000 BTC. Allegedly, Ukrainian public officials own an aggregated total of 46,351 BTC. While public official holdings are not strictly governmental holdings, extensive and declared ownership of Bitcoin by Civil Servants is significant and unusual nonetheless.
Bhutan has been mining Bitcoin since 2019 and in May 2023, Bhutan’s sovereign wealth fund, Druk Holding and Investments, announced a $500 million partnership with Bitdeer to expand its Bitcoin mining operations. Given Bhutan’s geographical location advantage, the country has constructed numerous hydroelectric power plants along its glacial rivers. The country will now be leveraging its cheap and abundant hydroelectric power to mine Bitcoin and invest profits into the country’s development.
In terms of Government holdings related to seizure however, the United States takes the top position with a wallet size of 205,515 BTC. This Bitcoin was recovered by the FBI from both the Bitfinex hack and seized from the Silk Road marketplace and Silk Road hacker James Zhong. The US Government has already liquidated about 10,000 Silk Road BTC for $215 million, and announced plans to liquidate the remaining Silk Road holdings of 41,000 BTC in four batches over the course of 2023. To stay informed about any movements of these funds in real-time, monitor the verified Arkham entity here.
In 2017, the Bulgarian government seized a total of 213,519 Bitcoin after taking down a criminal operation. At the time, this represented 1% of the circulating supply and was valued at $3.3 billion. After the crackdown, speculation circulated suggesting that the government had auctioned off all the Bitcoin proceeds in the months that followed. Whether this happened, however, remains unclear.
In November 2020, China’s authorities confiscated 194,775 Bitcoin from the operators of the PlusToken Ponzi scheme. The tokens were forfeited to the national treasury but it remains unclear whether China still holds the Bitcoin or if they have sold it off.
In July 2022, Finland liquidated 1,889 Bitcoin seized from criminal activity prior to 2018. The Finnish Customs still holds 90 Bitcoin and an undisclosed amount of other tokens that are currently awaiting a court ruling.
Additionally, in January 2024 the German Government seized 50K of BTC from a movie piracy site called Movie2k. The UK Government also seized about 61K of BTC relating to an investment fraud operation in China.
Coinbase takes the top spot for exchange BTC holders, with 1 million in their BTC holdings identified on-chain (on behalf of themselves & customers custodying with Coinbase). Coinbase is also known to invest a portion of its net income in crypto assets and also holds a certain amount for operating purposes i.e. to meet customer withdrawals at any given time.
Binance and Bitfinex are also large exchange holders of Bitcoin, with over 600,000 and approximately 200,000 BTC respectively. These cold wallets custody client deposits and generally do not represent the exchange’s ownership. Binance and Bitfinex collectively hold over 4% of the circulating supply of Bitcoin.
Besides crypto exchanges, there are many anonymous Bitcoin billionaire wallets that hold a substantial amount of BTC. These wallets vary in terms of activity, with some actively engaged in transactions, while others have remained dormant for extended periods, leaving people to speculate on whether the owners still retain access.
Out of the total of 8 wallets analyzed, 5 of them are inactive while the remaining 3 wallets have recorded both inflows and outflows in the past year. Interestingly, 6 of the Bitcoin billionaire wallets were only created after January 2018.
Below is a table of the top unattributed Bitcoin holders, showing the amount of BTC they hold, the percentage of circulating supply this represents, as well as wallet status and any observations about the wallets.
What began as a niche project among cryptography enthusiasts has evolved into a globally significant financial asset with many companies, people, and governments as holders. The strong appeal of holding Bitcoin for users emerges from the currency’s decentralized properties, which ensure nobody owns the Bitcoin network as a whole & makes taking control of this network completely prohibitively costly even for the most determined of attackers.
Bitcoin’s maximum supply of 21 million coins is a fundamental aspect of the project’s design, ensuring it remains a scarce asset and that no more can be printed to inflate the currency’s value. Accounting for an estimated permanent loss of 3.7 million BTC in inaccessible wallets, Bitcoin’s actual total supply is even lower.
With Arkham’s Token Pages, users can easily monitor the top holders of Bitcoin, find the largest inflows and outflows, and filter for specific Bitcoin transactions.