The leading exchanges holding Bitcoin
Nearly 2 million Bitcoin is held by these five exchanges catering to millions of individual Bitcoin wallet addresses. Coinbase alone is storing over 944,000 Bitcoin across nearly 4.39 million Bitcoin wallets. With almost a third of the amount of Coinbase, Huobi stands in second place with over 323,000 Bitcoin stored in far fewer addresses boasting larger investments, with approximately 901,600 different wallets. Binance has an on-chain balance of over 289,00 Bitcoin held in 2.7 mullion addresses ahead of OKEx which has a little over 276,000 Bitcoin tokens across approximately only 339,000 unique wallets. Kraken, as the fifth current largest exchange, holds over 126,000 Bitcoin across around 672,000 wallets.
The implication is that, with this portion of holders storing their funds in exchanges, smaller investors prefer to store their Bitcoin on the centralised exchange. Despite the security involved, hacks and attacks are always a plausible risk in storing funds through a centralised platform.
Where else is the circulating Bitcoin held?
Larger investors – or Bitcoin whales – need to be considered as major players in the cryptocurrency market. Holding (and likely storing without transacting) Bitcoin at such a large scale would stand as a major fraction of the market, and they would not be seen as part of the cryptocurrency exchange investors.
In addition to exchanges and large-scale investors, it has been approximated by Chainalysis that 3.7 million of the Bitcoin in circulation at the moment is “lost”, meaning it has not moved or been touched at all in the past five years. This makes up a whopping 20% of Bitcoin at the moment. However, it is possible that this “lost” Bitcoin is simply stored by investors to maintain profits without touching it.
The Bitcoin in circulation that is not stored by investors and exchanges and not considered lost is being traded. This stands, according to Chainalysis, as 3.5 million Bitcoin changing hands frequently between traders and across platforms.