Only 14% of Bitcoin’s Addresses Belong to Private Investors, Chainalysis Study Shows

Francisco Memoria

A recently conducted study has recently shown that out all of bitcoin’s 460 million addresses created so far, only 14% belong to private investors, meaning the vast majority belong to cryptocurrency-related services.

The study, conducted by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, found that 25 million addresses are held by investors. It also found that out that out of all of BTC’s addresses only 172 million are seen as economically relevant, as they belong to users or firms that own the cryptocurrency. The report reads:

Out of the 172 million economically relevant addresses, Chainalysis has identified 147 million, or 86%, as belonging to named services, such as an exchange or a darknet market.

This notably means that out of nearly half a billion bitcoin addresses, only 27 million currently hold any BTC, while 37% of them are considered economically relevant. The remaining addresses, Chainalysis points out, are used to facilitate payments.

Per the firm, the non-economically relevant addresses are “typically single use and hold bitcoin for only a short time.” They’re considered “connective tissue” addresses, which “play a role in getting bitcoin from one person or service to another.”

Taking all of this into account, Chainalysis concludes that “on average only 20% of the bitcoin transaction value is economic, in that it is a final transfer between different people via economically relevant addresses.” The remaining 80%, it claims, is “returned as change.” This as when a portion of all BTC in a wallet is sent, it all moves.

In a given example, Chainalysis points out that between August and October of this year $41 billion worth of transactions were executed, while only $9 billion had real economic value. Earlier this year, as covered, Chainalysis’ research found that bitcoin whales are "a diverse group that may be stabilizing, rather than destabilizing, the market."

In another study, Chainalaysis found that concentrated ownership of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was responsible for the cryptocurrency’s low adoption in commerce. This, as only 67 wallets controlled over half of the cryptocurrency’s supply at the time.