Glassnode: BTC is evenly distributed between “whales” and retail investors

Despite the growth in the number of “whales” in 2020, the number of BTC in the wallets of retail investors increased by 130% in three years.

According to the data
Glassnode, bitcoin is relatively uniformly distributed across locations with different size of the balance sheet. The Glassnode researchers published this data in response to previously shared information
the fact that the main volume of bitcoins in circulation is concentrated on several large addresses – only 2% of wallets control 95% of BTC. Although these numbers are technically correct, they are misleading because they do not take into account a number of important factors.

“2% of addresses control 95% of all BTC.” Not true. The BTC supply is much less concentrated than is often reported, and is increasingly dispersed over time, ” he said.
The technical director of Glassnode is Rafael Schultze – Kraft.

He writes that not all BTC addresses should be treated equally:

“For example, an exchange address where millions of users’ money is stored must be distinguished from an individual address… One user can control multiple addresses, and one address can contain multiple users ‘ money.”

The researchers analyzed Bitcoin wallets according to their balances and divided them into eight separate groups, each named after sea creatures: shrimps (<1 BTC), crabs (1-10 BTC), octopuses (10-50 BTC), fish (50-100 BTC), dolphins (100-500 BTC), sharks (500-1000 BTC), whales (1000-5000 BTC), and humpback whales (> 5000 BTC). Exchanges and miners were not included in the statistics and were considered separately.

Estimated distribution of BTC between network participants over time. Source: Glassnode.

As of January 2021, whales and humpback whales were the largest participants in the network – these two categories controlled about 31% of the BTC supply. Next are fish, dolphins and sharks (50-1, 000 BTC), controlling about 23% of the total BTC supply, followed by shrimp, crabs and octopus (<50 BTC) with about 23%. Exchanges and miners control 13% and 10% of bitcoins, respectively.

Schulze-Kraft commented on this data and said that the largest participants in the network, not engaged in exchange operations, are most likely institutions, funds, custodians, participants in OTC trading and other wealthy people.

“On the other hand, smaller network participants who own at least 50 BTC control almost 23% of the supply. This shows that a significant amount of bitcoin is in the hands of retail investors, ” he added.

More importantly, Schulze-Kraft said, there has been a steady dispersal of the BTC supply in recent years, with a tendency to increase the number of small holders. According to the report, the number of bitcoins owned by the smallest members of the network has increased by 130% since 2017, and the second largest addresses – by 14%. At the same time, the balances of large participants – dolphins and sharks, whales and humpback whales-decreased by 3% and 7%, respectively. At the same time, the number of whales has increased significantly since 2020.

“This suggests that institutional investors, funds, family offices, and other participants with large fortunes are coming into the industry. Yes, this is a bullish signal, ” Schulze-Kraft concluded.

This” bullish ” trend is supported by the fact that the number of addresses that hold at least 1 BTC recently reached a new historical high, surpassing the record of September 2020. In addition, in January, the number of active Bitcoin addresses reached
22.3 million.