A new study performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the top bitcoin holders control more of the cryptocurrency than most wealthy Americans control the dollar.

According to the research, the top 10,000 bitcoin holders have a total of 5 million bitcoins, which is roughly an equivalent of $232 billion. This means that approximately 0.01% of bitcoin holders control 27% of the 19 million bitcoin in circulation.

The study was performed at the MIT Sloan School of Management at the London School of Economics. It was led by finance professors Antoinette Schoar and Igor Makarov. It took into account every transaction in bitcoin’s more than 13 year history for the first time ever. Each transaction was mapped and analyzed carefully before arriving at a conclusion.

Just 0.01% of People Own $232 Billion in Bitcoin


The researchers found that 90% of the total bitcoin transactions come from just two activities that have no economic function. The first one is derived simply from the way the network processes bitcoin transactions. The second one comes from users trying to stay anonymous by sending transactions between wallets.

Only the remaining 10% comes from trading which the researchers called the “real volume”. This was mostly made up of transactions between trading desks and exchanges.

Illegal transactions such as scams, gambling sites, and other illicit uses only made up less than 3% of the total volume.

Source: Wall Street Journal