Bitcoin’s long entrenchment under $24,000 provided ample opportunity for smaller holders to increase their position sizes, on-chain data shows.
Nearly 1 million Bitcoin addresses now hold over 1 BTC, much of which was accumulated between 2021 and 2023.
The Rise of BTC Shrimps
According to on-chain data provided by LookIntoBitcoin, there are 991,670 Bitcoin addresses holding over 1 BTC as of March 29 – a number that has risen consistently since Bitcoin’s inception as more BTC entered the network.
However, that figure rose especially quickly after the collapse of crypto exchange giant FTX in November, from 915,110 on November 8th to 961,756 on December 8. The event pushed Bitcoin’s price back down to $15,500 for the first time since 2020, likely giving dedicated HODLers a better chance to stack sats.
Manufacturers of individual crypto hardware wallets saw record sales in the days following FTX’s bankruptcy, indicating a broad push towards individual wallets over centralized exchange wallets. This could also help explain the growth in smaller address balances since exchanges often lump thousands of users’ BTC together into one blockchain address at a time
Furthermore, Blockchain intelligence firm Glassnode noted at the time that “shrimps” – blockchain addresses with <1 BTC – have added a record 96.2k BTC to their collective holdings within the month since FTX’s failure.
Bitcoin’s Supply Distribution
Over the long term, the number of wallets holding >0.1 BTC (4,289,243) and >0.01 BTC (11,724,266) has also continued to grow. Meanwhile, the number of addresses holding >10 BTC or >100BTC has remained relatively flat since at least 2018, while wallets with >1000 BTC have fallen roughly 20% since 2021.
Data from CoinMarketCap shows that only about 11% of Bitcoin’s supply is held by entities with greater than 0.1% of all holdings. This is a fairly small amount of wealth concentration compared to certain altcoins like Ethereum or Cardano, whose figures are 39% and 33% respectively.
In 2021, CoinMetrics analyst Nate Madrey suggested that Bitcoin’s more even distribution is due to its Proof of Work consensus mechanism, which incentivizes miners to sell newly minted coins onto the market rather than horde them.