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Citing data from BitInfoCharts, @GRomePow took to X on December 4 to reveal that a mere 0.04% of Bitcoin (BTC) addresses control 62% of the circulating supply, which stands at over 19.5 million according to CoinMarketCap at press time.
0.04% Of Bitcoin Holders Control 62% Of Circulating Supply
This stark concentration of wealth has reignited the debate surrounding Bitcoin’s decentralization, with critics questioning whether the coin lives up to its promise of a democratized financial system.
On launch, Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of the first blockchain network, aimed to release decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic money with an autonomous system. Central to this platform and form of money was its community-facing nature and decentralization.
However, based on what @GRomePow discovers, BitInfochart shows an increasingly growing gap between a small group of large BTC holders, also known as whales, and most users, mainly comprised of retailers. While the wealthiest Bitcoin addresses hold 62% of the current circulating supply, most BTC holders own minuscule amounts.
Even so, this disparity has led some to argue that Bitcoin’s wealth distribution is “no different from traditional financial systems, undermining its claim to decentralization.”
While this is a growing concern, staunch Bitcoin proponents maintain that wealth distribution and decentralized rules are two distinct concepts. They argue that Bitcoin’s decentralized nature lies in its underlying technology, which allows anyone to participate in the network without intermediaries or central authorities.
BTC holders, they add, aren’t involved in securing or approving the network. If anything, these entities could be corporations, including MicroStrategy and Tesla, who have, over the years, amassed billions of dollars worth of the coin, holding them as part of their investment strategies.
Why The Growing Disparity In BTC Control?
Overall, the concentration of wealth in Bitcoin is primarily attributed to early adopters who acquired significant amounts of BTC during its infancy. As the cryptocurrency’s value has skyrocketed, these early holders have amassed substantial wealth.
It is said that Nakamoto controls 1 million BTC. Meanwhile, early miners and adopters like Hal Finney’s estate control billions worth of coins they mined using their desktops.
Moreover, Bitcoin’s decentralized nature allows individuals to choose how they manage their holdings. Some may store their BTC in secure wallets, while others keep them on exchanges for easier trading. As of early December 2023, Glassnode data shows that around 20% of all circulating Bitcoin is held on exchanges.
Chart from Tradingview
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