There was a time when people were transacting thousands of Bitcoin across the web for various purposes, be it betting online, paying tips casually, or even buying drugs. A man even paid 10,000 BTC for two delivered Papa John pizzas. But little did he and every other Bitcoin spender know that their few cents worth of a digital asset would one day become as valuable as $65,000 per token.
Those who foresaw it coming have now become the so-called crypto millionaires and billionaires. The power of HODLing Bitcoin, coupled with strategies to acquire more of the cryptocurrency, has been the best investment decision for many. In this article, we will discuss who owns the most Bitcoin.
Satoshi Nakamoto is a ghost—a mysterious person or a group that introduced Bitcoin to the world in 2008 with its whitepaper. Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System that later led to the development and launch of the Bitcoin network the crypto-philes know today.
The network was created as a decentralized alternative to the global banking system. That means the system can operate or transfer funds from one account to the other without any central authority. With a central controller, transferring money is easy—tell the bank you want to remove $100 from your account and add it to someone else’s account. In this case, the bank has all the power to accept, reject, delay, or charge the transaction.
The bank also holds power to update the ledger of all the account balances in the system. With Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto distributed the ability to add and confirm transactions to a public ledger known as the blockchain. One needed to do is get a computing machine and connect it with the Bitcoin network using its specialized mainnet.
In doing so, users’ machines competed to guess a random number generated by the Bitcoin system. Those who thought the number correctly won new Bitcoin units. They also got to write the next page of Bitcoin transactions on the blockchain.
Satoshi Nakamoto was the first Bitcoin “miner.” Therefore, they were also the first ones to earn bitcoin units en masse. To date, they have not cashed out a single BTC. Satoshi Nakamoto’s net worth is at least 1 million BTC, about $32.95bn at the currency exchange rates.
But since Nakamoto has disappeared into anonymity by choice, there is no way to determine whether or not their 1 million BTC would ever be cashed out. Even Craig Wright, an Australian computer engineer who has repeatedly claimed to be Nakamoto frequently has failed to produce any evidence that he holds Bitcoin from the genesis block.
So far, Nakamoto is the one who has the most Bitcoin.
Barry Silbert is the best example for investors who want to HODL and grow their Bitcoin collection through strategic investments across space.
Silbert is the chief executive and founder of Digital Currency Group. A company actively working to put Bitcoin at the center stage of developing the global financial system. The 43-year old tycoon, via DCG, has invested in more than 100 Bitcoin-related startups and companies, sometimes through active mergers and acquisition deals.
For example, he owns Coindesk, one of the world’s leading crypto news and analysis companies operating digitally. Silbert also owns Genesis, one of the largest regulated crypto trading firms. Along with Grayscale Investments, a New York-based investment service enables accredited investors to gain exposure in Bitcoin markets through a regulated Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) share. Each 1,000 GBTC unit represents one Bitcoin.
Grayscale alone holds about 654,600 BTC worth over $21.46bn. However, the capital represents the amount of GBTC shares issued. Investors cannot redeem the Bitcoin they have put into purchasing GBTC; they need to sell the shares in secondary markets. That has prompted many to call Grayscale a “Bitcoin black hole.”
Forbes reported that Silbert’s net worth was $1.6bn in 2021. Nevertheless, how much Bitcoin he holds remains a mystery.
The chief executive of MicroStrategy, a publicly traded business intelligence firm in the US, Michael Saylor, has earned himself the title of the best dip buyer. The 56-year old entrepreneur went on a Bitcoin buying spree in 2020 to eventually replace more than 80% of his company’s cash reserves with cryptocurrency.
His first Bitcoin purchase of $250mm came in August 2020. The time when the world was grappling with coronavirus and its impact on the global economy. The central banks in the west had unleashed unlimited quantitative easing to shield the markets from a downfall while developing economies came under a severe economic burden.
Saylor openly commented that he saw Bitcoin as a hedge against the global economic disorder, significantly cash that kept losing its value due to excessive market liquidity. Saylor started upping MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin exposure as the loose central bank policies continued, including near-zero interest rates. Insofar that the firm now holds 105,085 BTC worth $3.44bn.
Saylor admitted that he holds 17,732 Bitcoins for about $175mm. The investment is now worth $582.9mm.
Micree Zhan and Wu Jihan
The co-founders and co-CEOs of Bitmain, the world’s largest computer chip company for cryptocurrency mining, Micree Zhan and Wu Jihan reportedly hold $3.2bn and $1.8bn worth of Bitcoin, respectively.
Zhan and Jihan have emerged at the forefront of Bitcoin mining after gaining hegemony over the manufacturing and distribution of the machines—Application Specific Integrated Circuits—mainly for minting new BTC units. They also own one of the largest Bitcoin mining farms, known as Antpool.
Antpool is an open access mining pool that supports ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). It allows global miners to combine their computing resources to mine cryptocurrencies. That enables the pool also to accumulate freshly minted Bitcoin.
Antpool mines a majority of all blocks. That makes Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan highly influential in the Bitcoin community.
Changpeng Zhao is also known as CZ to the crypto community. He is the founder and chief executive of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. CZ launched Binance in 2017 after raising $15mm in an initial coin offering. Since then, he has grown to become a crypto conglomerate, opening many business wings under the Binance brand. This includes blockchain ecosystem, a venture capitalist arm, a blockchain incubation portal, and a charity organization.
The company’s massive success has made CZ one of the leading names in the cryptocurrency sector. That has also boosted his personal earnings, which Forbes reported near $1.9bn in its June 2021 report.
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