Taking all development on its shoulder for providing an alternative to traditional finance, Bitcoin has been leading the crypto space for over 13 years now.
When Bitcoin was launched by an unknown developer or group of developers named Satoshi Nakamoto, its whitepaper was released on 9 January 2009 paving the way for the world’s first peer-to-peer payment system that did not require any third-party verification service provider.
The Bitcoin network was established by Nakamoto by creating the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which contained a reward of 50 bitcoins. Nakamoto published version 0.1 of the bitcoin software on SourceForge.
Since 2009, people who have invested in Bitcoin have become billionaires. We all know the story of Florida-based man Laszlo Hanyecz who traded 10,000 bitcoin for two pizzas on 22 May 2010 this day has now been celebrated by the crypto community as Pizza day.
However, BTC prices have recorded huge volatility from the day it was launched and every time financial experts were terming BTC a fraud they had to “eat their own words”, as BTC is still going strong and it is now trading around $23,000 to $24,000 from its previous high of close to $69,000.
During the global financial crisis of 2008-09, major banks like Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and this snowballed into a financial meltdown and recession.
Inflation was at its peak, countries were printing currencies and the value of fiat was at its new low. With its decentralized P2P payment system, BTC caught the attention of a large number of early adopters, as BTC is anti-inflationary and no authority controls it, as it is community owned.
To give more power to the BTC community in 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto rescind the project and gave complete control of BTC to the community and till today, no one knows his/group’s whereabouts.
With just 21 million BTC to be mined, BTC has become the most sought digital asset in the world today. It is also called digital gold due to its limited supply.
Recently, MicroStrategy Inc. co-founder Michael Saylor said that even gold is not limited, citing the recent 31 million tonnes gold deposit worth $12 trillion found in Uganda, so this makes Bitcoin the only digital asset that has a limited supply.
No one can ever increase or make a copy of Bitcoin, as each Bitcoin has the same value, as 1 BTC can be divided into 100 millionths, which is enough to be distrusted among the global population when Satoshi selected 21 million BTC as a final number to be mined.
Understanding the importance of BTC, even companies and institutional investors started collecting and holding BTC in their wallets.
Who owns the most Bitcoins?
The first miner of BTC was Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious person who invented Bitcoin. According to estimates, Satoshi mined more than 22,000 blocks and was rewarded for his efforts with a total of one million BTC in block rewards. During the initial period mining reward for one block was 50 BTC.
As a result, Satoshi is thought to be the owner of the largest bitcoin cache, which currently stands at more than 1 million BTC, or $2,300,000,000. All of this BTC was never spent outside of a few test transactions and is instead scattered among about 22,000 addresses.
According to River.com, the distribution of bitcoin ownership through time has been continuously moving on the total value of bitcoin.
Currently, just five BTC addresses totaling 778,627 BTC each hold 100,000 to 1,000,000 BTC, while 2,169,396 BTC are held by the next 92 biggest owners, whose holdings range from 10,000 to 100,000 BTC.
The top 97 addresses in terms of wealth make up 14.15% of the entire supply. Holders having more than 10,000 BTC are known as Whales.
As of June 2022, there are 18 BTC addresses that hold BTC valued at over $1 billion, that includes individuals, anonymous entities, crypto exchanges, governments, and companies.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is the leader in BTC holding with 638,480BTC, followed by Block.one with 140,000 and MicroStrategy holding 130,587 BTC. There are other companies namely, Tesla, Galaxy Digital Holdings, Square, Marathon Digital Holdings, Coinbase, Hut 8 Mining, and others.
Binance crypto exchange currently holds 447,197 BTC, which is the highest among any crypto exchange, followed by Bitfinex with 207,738 BTC and OKX with 205,127 BTC holding.
Individually, only the Winklevoss twins are the known face that holds 70,000 BTC, while six individuals along with Satoshi are holding around 1,464,961 BTC, according to river.com figures.
BTC market capitalization
As on 5 August 2022, Bitcoin’s market capitalization is around $443 billion and it commands over 40.6% of the crypto market share. With one BTC trading at around $23,034 with a 24 trading volume of $28.6 billion, BTC is the most valuable crypto in the world, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
BTC recorded its highest market capitalization of $1.27 trillion on 8 November 2021, when one BTC was trading at $67,566 with a 24-hour trading volume of over $41 billion.
There are over 54,044,631 BTC wallet addresses that are holding over 19 million, of which close to 34 million wallets have around $1 BTC in holding, over 13 million wallets have around $100 worth of BTC, and close to 5 million wallet addresses have $1000 worth of BTC.
In more numbers, over 1.3 million wallets have around $10,000 worth of BTC, 220,742 wallets have BTC worth $100,000, over 25,000 wallets have BTC worth one million and 4276 wallets have BTC worth over $10 million.
With more and more people adopting crypto as an alternative to traditional finance and banking, BTC is the first choice, as it is just like a Banyan tree (Kalpavriksha – a wish-fulfilling divine tree) and its branches are other crypto projects that have been holding on to it.
Branches keep growing and falling, but the tree keeps on growing.