It’s hard not to look at the Bitcoin price graph and lapse into daydreaming. The lines don’t lie: If you’d only sunk a few hundred in six or seven years ago you’d be laughing all the way to the bank right now. As the price surges past the mythical $5,000 mark, you imagine what it must be like for those who did. Somebody – anybody – hurry up and build that time machine.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, it’s just nothing compared to a bit of foresight. We’re probably all familiar now with the story of the Norwegian guy who invested $27 back in 2009 and promptly forgot all about it until four years later, whereupon he hastily checked back to find out his investment was now worth $886,000. If that’s enough to make you feel a little sick, then bear in mind that if he’d held onto them all until now, he’d be sitting on somewhere north of $25,000,000. There’s dumb luck and then there’s really knowing your stuff.
So who are the Bitcoin big hitters? Who bought low and can now sell very, very high?
Top Bitcoin Hodlers
A trawl through Google unsurprisingly throws up a few rather predictable and sadly unglamorous Bitcoin big boys. There are venture capitalists Tim Draper and Barry Silbert, whose respective Bitcoin portfolios are rumoured to be worth $70 million and $110 million respectively. Both Draper and Silbert supposedly acquired the bulk of their hoards via auctions held by the FBI, with Draper apparently bagging those requisitioned from Silk Road. Good for them.
With the Feds flogging Bitcoins, it’s no surprise to learn that the good old US government itself is another big hitter in the Bitcoin ballpark. It’s unclear just how many Bitcoins the US actually holds and which arm of the state actually controls them. Back in 2013 Wired claimed the FBI was then the world’s biggest Bitcoin holder, but this was before Draper and Silbert stepped in to take some off its hands.
The US Treasury department seems more interested in getting its hands on tax revenues from Bitcoin transactions rather than Bitcoins themselves, but don’t bet against the possibility that Uncle Sam has a few well-stuffed wallets knocking about here and there.
It’s left to the Winklevoss twins to add a bit of stardust to the list. You’ll remember them as Mark Zuckerberg’s nemeses from the early days of their social media start-up and it seems they invested some of their payoff from that debacle wisely.
They reportedly sunk around $11 million into Bitcoins back in 2013 and that should be worth around $230 million by now. Which you’d imagine should go someway towards easing the pain of not running Facebook.
Importance of Anonymity
Given all the hype surrounding Bitcoin at the moment and the intense interest it’s generating from tax authorities across the globe, you won’t be surprised to learn that many of the leading Bitcoin holders out there are none too keen on having their identities widely known. Anonymity is one of cryptocurrency’s main attractions after all and there’s not much to be gained from having everyone know about your carefully curated stash.
Coupled with this is the fact that anyone holding large numbers of Bitcoins will almost certainly have them distributed across and number of different wallets, making it impossible to know who holds how many unless they’re willing to make the information public. Which brings us to perhaps the wealthiest Bitcoiner of them all…
Yes, the one individual thought to hold the most Bitcoin of all is none other than the very person who came up with it – Satoshi Nakamoto. Of course, nobody knows for sure who Satoshi is, as he (if it is a ‘he’) has yet to reveal himself. But experts reckon that whoever and wherever he is, he’s likely to be sitting on roughly 5% of all the Bitcoins in existence. At today’s prices, I could daydream about those numbers for weeks.
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