While we all know that true bitcoin believers like to “hodl” their coins, a recent research have helped to understand the real extent of pure hodling versus other uses like trading and spending.
The research by weekly cryptocurrency publication Diar found that over one third of total bitcoin supply, or 55% of circulating bitcoin sit in wallets (with more than BTC 200 in each) that have never made an outgoing transaction. In addition, 27% of these wallets have continued to accumulate coins during the bear market in anticipation of the next leg up in the bitcoin market.
There are also a few possible explanations as to why so many bitcoin wallets have never made any outgoing transactions.
Aside from the fact that some of those walletts are owned by the cryptocurrency exchanges (at least 3.8% of the bitcoin supply is held in 5 such wallets), the most intriguing answer would be that the owners of these wallets are die-hard bitcoin hoarders. It could also be that the private keys to the wallets have been lost, owners have deceased, or through other means have become inaccessible.
According to the article, over 87% of existing bitcoins are stored in wallets with more than 10 bitcoins (worth over USD 60,000 as of press time). However, these fat wallets make up only 0.7% of all bitcoin wallet addresses, indicating that the vast majority of bitcoin wealth is held by a few long-term hodlers.
Further, when looking at wallets with over 100 bitcoins, we are down to only 0.1% of all wallet addresses. These wallets hold roughly 62% of all circulating bitcoins.
However, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis company, between 2.3 and 3.7 million bitcoins are considered lost, meaning that the circulating bitcoin supply could be anywhere from 13% to 22% lower than official figures (more than 17 million bitcoins.)