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‘Bitcoin whales’ control third of market with $37.5bn holdings

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Source: FT, Jun 2018

A mysterious cluster of 1,600 investors known colloquially as “bitcoin whales” collectively hold $37.5bn of the cryptocurrency, or close to a third of the available total, revealing the extent to which wealth is concentrated in the nascent market.

Data from Chainalysis, a blockchain research company, seen by the Financial Times showed that in April this year, there were some 1,600 bitcoin “wallets” — the digital stores held by individual users — containing at least 1,000 bitcoin each.

Just under 100 wallets contained between 10,000 and 100,000 bitcoin, roughly worth between $75m and $750m at today’s prices.

That the bitcoin market is so tightly held stands at odds with bitcoin’s mission to democratise finance by setting up an alternative monetary systemfree of central bank control and open to all. It also brings risks for smaller speculators.

“This concentration of wealth means that bitcoin is at risk…

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