There Are Now 17,000 Bitcoin Millionaires – Decrypt

In brief

  • Bitcoin is one of the most profitable financial instruments of all time, but tracking how many people got rich from it is challenging.
  • Under the assumption that one address = one owner, there are close to 17,000 Bitcoin millionaires today.
  • Just over 0.1% of Bitcoin users are BTC millionaires, compared to 9% adult Americans (per the US dollar).

In its short lifespan, the price of Bitcoin has gone from less than a cent to hit nearly $20,000, back in 2017. Unsurprisingly, it’s made some people rich along the way; what isn’t so clear cut is exactly how many lucky individuals hit the jackpot.

One of the simplest ways to check is to look at the number of Bitcoin millionaires; in other words, anybody owning at least $1 million worth of the cryptocurrency.

Although the term has been thrown around for almost as long as Bitcoin has existed, it’s difficult to put an exact number on how many Bitcoin millionaires there are at any one time. But here’s what we do know.

Defining a Bitcoin Millionaire

Since Bitcoin has a public ledger, nailing down the number of Bitcoin millionaires should be a simple matter of checking the number of Bitcoin addresses containing more than $1 million worth of BTC. At Bitcoin’s current price of $10,310 (as of September 11, 2020), this means anybody owning at least 97 BTC (or thereabouts) could be considered a Bitcoin millionaire.

According to data from Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, Bitcoin has a 60-day average daily volatility of 2.39%. This means that on average, the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated by 2.39% each day for the last two months. This volatility can affect how many Bitcoin millionaires there are, by either raising or lowering the threshold required to qualify. 

Similarly, due to the number of shared wallets (e.g. exchanges and custodians), deterministic wallets, and multi-signature wallets, simply assuming that 1 address = 1 holder can be slightly misleading.

What we can say is that any address containing more than ~97 BTC is either a Bitcoin millionaire or a firm that controls more than $1 million in user funds—for the most part.

So how many Bitcoin millionaires are there?

As per data from BitInfoCharts, there are currently 17,005 Bitcoin addresses with a balance of $1 million or above. However, due to the fact that an unknown number of Bitcoin holders may hold multiple addresses that sum to more than $1 million, while several addresses containing more than $1 million in BTC may be owned by the same person, it’s best to consider this figure a rough estimate.

In addition, there are around 158,545 addresses containing more than $100,000 worth of Bitcoin and 869,463 containing at least $10,000 worth. Overall, of the 16 million addresses tracked by BitInfoCharts, just 0.11% can be considered millionaires at today’s rates. 

For comparison, there are roughly 18.6 million individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in the United States—equivalent to around 9% of the adult population. As such, there are roughly 82 times fewer Bitcoin millionaires as a proportion of Bitcoin users, than there are adult millionaires in the US.

Around one in every 6.5 of Bitcoin millionaires actually hold more than $10 million worth of Bitcoin, while there are just 104 addresses containing more than $100 million in BTC. Beyond that, just a single address would currently qualify for the Bitcoin billionaire club. The address is currently the wealthiest address in existence and has a balance of 237,502 BTC, worth around $2.44 billion. This address is the cold wallet for Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, meaning it is formed from the deposits of potentially thousands of Huobi users.

With so few Bitcoin millionaires, it’s clear that Bitcoin has achieved better distribution than many fiat currencies—helping to ensure a more even spread of crypto wealth.

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