On May 20, Caitlin Long, the founder of Custodia Bank, retweeted and revived an intriguing question posed by Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream, on whether the number of the so-called Bitcoin “wholecoiners” has peaked.
Is The Number Of Bitcoin Wholecoiners Peaking?
Her question is when the number of wholecoiners, or individuals holding at least 1 BTC, soared above the 1 million mark last week.
While the rising number of wholecoiners points to possible adoption and rising BTC demand over time, market forces could end up capping their numbers.
She reckons that as Bitcoin prices increase, it would be more expensive for a would-be wholecoiner to purchase the asset. Therefore, based on these factors, it may be unlikely that there will be 10 million in the coming years.
ARE WE AT PEAK WHOLE-COINERS in #bitcoin asks @adam3us? 1M whole-coiners today. Probably couldn’t reach 10M whole-coiners ever tho, bc bitcoin’s price would be bid up too high to reach that given the 21M supply cap… pic.twitter.com/vzRvv2vyAW
— Caitlin Long (@CaitlinLong_) May 20, 2023
On May 13, Glassnode, an on-chain analytics firm, revealed that the number of addresses managing at least 1 BTC had broken above the 1 million mark and continues to steadily grow.
This upward trend has remained consistent, weathering the impact of the crypto winter which saw BTC prices crumble from over $69,000 registered in November 2021 to less than $16,000 in Q4 2022.
Despite this impressive trend, Long and Adam’s observations may cast doubt on whether this could continue in the long haul, pushing the number of wholecoiners to double digits.
By design, Bitcoin is deflationary and there will be 21 million BTC to ever circulate. As inflation also reduces due to BTC halving roughly every four years, coin holders expect BTC prices to gradually increase over the years.
Based on historical performance and increasing crypto adoption, market forces could drive BTC prices higher, making it challenging for more users to own 1 BTC currently trading at over $26,900 as on May 21.
Less Than 2.5% Of BTC Addresses Are Wholecoiners
While the number of wholecoiners has been steadily rising, there is a division between long-term investors and short-term speculators.
Long-term Bitcoin holders have demonstrated resilience during market fluctuations, retaining their positions rather than selling. On the other hand, speculators are known more for exiting for USDT and cash during times of heightened volatility. For their actions, short-term holders or speculators have been labeled as “weak hands”.
So far, BitInfoCharts data shows that less than 2.5% of all Bitcoin addresses hold at least 1 BTC. As of May 21, addresses with between 1 and 10 BTC stood at 2.1% of the total. Meanwhile, the number of whales, or those holding above 100 BTC represented less than 0.033% of the total addresses.
Roughly 93% of all Bitcoin addresses held between 0.00001 and 0.0001 BTC.