Who Owns All the Bitcoins – An Infographic of Wealth Distribution

This brilliant infographic is from March 2014 but still worth sharing. It was originally published at Cryptocoins News

Everyone knows that global wealth is unevenly distributed. The top 1% has control over almost 50% of the global economy. But how does bitcoin wealth distribution compare to the global distribution of fiat and fixed assets? This gorgeous infographic explains:



It turns out that the distribution of bitcoins among users is even more skewed than the distribution of traditional wealth across the globe. This is understandable, since bitcoin favours early adopters who either mined or purchased their coins a few years ago. Furthermore, the amount of bitcoins in circulation is capped at 21 million, which also helps create an unequal distribution of wealth. Interestingly, the FBI has the second largest known stash of bitcoins, a whopping 174,000 BTC from the Silk Road seizure. It’s unknown exactly when and how the FBI will sell these bitcoins, but the agency should auction them off sometime soon, a common practice for getting rid of assets seized from criminals. All in all, it’s interesting to see such a skewed wealth distribution, and it’s difficult to predict how this distribution will change in the future.

Infographic from WhoIsHostingThis?.

4 Comments Who Owns All the Bitcoins – An Infographic of Wealth Distribution

  1. AvatarMatthew Slater

    This whole article is relevant to nothing. It is not at all meaningful to compare distribution of bitcoins with distribution of legal tender monies.
    1) Bitcoin is voluntary currency and would be distributed very differently if a country adopted it as a national currency.
    2) Bitcoin is only held by people with spare money, or money to risk
    3) while mining is not profitable we can hardly complain that miners have preferential access to Bitcoin
    4) Nakomoto’s account is a big unknown, since it has never been drawn on it has a status in addition to ‘wealth’; it is the kind of sum that could be used to implement economic policies.
    I would add that:
    1) Bitcoin yields no interest so doesn’t have a tendency to accumulate towards the largest piles.

  2. AvatarMichel Bauwens

    funny conclusion, you have just read that bitcoin HAS accumulated to the largest piles (and other data show concentration is increasing), and conclude theoretically that reality should be different. The fact is, bitcoin IS a commodity currency that was designed for such accumulation and the rent-extraction mechanism on which it is based .. bitcoin accumulates by necessity and design because of its conscious deflationary austrian economics design based on self-interest. It’s not a miracle, it’s not an accident.

  3. Avatarmikeriddell62

    Adding to that, surely it is obvious that both systems – monetary and Crypto – share the unpleasant characteristic of being ponzi schemes that sucker smaller investors?

    I’m increasingly puzzled at the worth of any currency that is mined into existence, or worse still pre-mined.

    I just don’t get the value, intrinsic or otherwise.

    Sure, we all want to get rid of the central banks but is crypto the best way to do that? I’m not convinced, primarily because i can’t imagine the mass-adoption that would be required to unseat these Goliaths.

    I can see the Blockchain succeeding as the pipes through which value can be transferred between inhabitants of the wider community, but what beneficial work creates this value in the first place? (And why do i need an algorithm to prove the work was undertaken to an acceptable standard? Are we humans now to answer to the machine for our pay?)

    Mining a currency into existence produces no real value to the wider community. Lending money into existence even worse.

    Blockchain is a back-end system for transferring value, crypto and money a front-end for generating value in the first place.

    But neither of these two front-ends create purpose, or meaning or anything else of value to us as human beings, and as a consequence should be ignored and belittled for falling short of the standards now expected by the wider community.

  4. AvatarBob Haugen

    mikeriddell62: I agree with most of what you wrote, but blockchains are not so innocent either. If I understand correctly, at this stage of the blockchain distributed transaction protocol, the increasingly difficult proofs of work are necessary to make the protocol work. The result is that the proofs of work require more and more expensive equipment, leading to a re-centralization in different (but still not clean) hands. I understand some efforts are underway to mitigate this problem, but it is a problem.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.