321 Whales control Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin – Report

  • A new report from data analysis company IntoTheBlock shows that only 321 wallets control most of the circulating supply of the major cryptocurrencies.
  • As the study revealed, 39 whales own 11.1% of all Bitcon, 154 hold 40% of Ethereum’s total supply, while 128 whales own 47% of all Litecoin.

Whales are holders of cryptocurrencies that have a significant amount of a cryptocurrency. These can be early investors who bought the cryptocurrencies at lower prices or exchanges that hold cryptocurrencies from thousands of customers. Due to these factors, the distribution of wealth can be very uneven.

Centralisation of power

One of the main objectives of the creation of cryptocurrencies was to decentralize and distribute wealth more evenly. However, new data shows that this dream is now a distant prospect, considering that few people have invested in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Apart from Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, which are controlled by a few whales, the pattern seems to be the same for many other cryptocurrencies. According to IntoTheBlock data, 39 whales own 11.1% of all Bitcon, 154 whales own 40% of the total Ethereum supply and 128 whales own 47% of Litecoin. Furthermore, 105 Bitcoin Cash addresses own 28% of the total supply, 104 Bitcoin SV addresses own 25% and 39 Cardano addresses own 40% of the total supply.

Even with the largest Stablecoin Tether (USDT), only 140 wallets hold almost 60% of the total supply. This is similar to Ripple, the company behind XRP, which controls over 60% of XRP supply and has frozen it in an escrow account. The company is therefore accused of negatively influencing the price of XRP by regularly selling XRP at the beginning of each month.

Whales are often accused of manipulating market prices because they hold such large amounts of cryptocurrencies. The fact is, however, that most whales do not sell their cryptocurrencies, but rather accumulate them. The following list shows some of the richest Bitcoin addresses to date:

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16ftSEQ4ctQFDtVZiUBusQUjRrGhM3JYwe168,791 BTC
3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r144,467 BTC
16rCmCmbuWDhPjWTrpQGaU3EPdZF7MTdUk107,203 BTC
3Cbq7aT1tY8kMxWLbitaG7yT6bPbKChq6498,042 BTC
3Nxwenay9Z8Lc9JBiywExpnEFiLp6Afp897,848 BTC

An unspoken secret

These are not the first data published by blockchain analysis firms that show the unequal distribution of wealth in cryptocurrencies. Bloomberg, for example, reported that only 1,000 addresses control 40% of the total Bitcoin supply. These are addresses that own between 1,000 and 1 million Bitcoins.

It is also reported that only 1 percent of them control Bitcoins worth $100 million or more and that they continue to buy when prices drop, while private investors often sell at inopportune times for emotional reasons.

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Whales play an important role in regulating the market as they help to stabilize prices through their accumulation. However, it is also dangerous, as whales can also strongly influence the price at any time by dumping their coins.

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About Author

Please follow me on Twitter for deep analysis. Collin is a Bitcoin investor of the early hour and a long-time trader in the crypto and forex market. He's fascinated by the complex possibilities of blockchain technology and tries to make matter accessible to everyone. His reports focus on developments about the technology for different cryptocurrencies.

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