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INFOGRAPHIC: Who Owns All The Bitcoins?

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  • Wed, Mar 19, 2014 - 02:36pm


    Adam Taggart

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    INFOGRAPHIC: Who Owns All The Bitcoins?

From WhoIsHostingThis?:

Who owns all the bitcoins?

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  • Wed, Mar 19, 2014 - 05:45pm



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    Big assumptions

This info graphic is entertaining and interesting, but it makes  HUGE assumptions.


In 2009 and and 2010 the value of bitcoin was nothing. Zero. It was an experiment only. (Still is technically). These are the years when the mining was easiest and could be done with a laptop CPU. There were only a handful of geeks that knew anything about it, but it was just a "gee-wiz" kind of thing.

A huge portion of these early miners admitted later that they wiped their hard drives clean during upgrades. They didn't bother to back up the thousands of bitcoins that were created in this experiment. It wasn't until late 2010 when the miners had been churning away silently by a few cyber-punks when the first purchase was attempted. Two Papa John pizza's that were delivered for 10,000 bitcoins. This set the price at about 1/4 of a penny. It wasn't decided by a group, or investment house – it was by actually purchasing something the pizza sender would have likely sent for free as a promotional deal.

Within weeks the price rose 1000% to eight cents. Even at that price, the cost and hassle of backing up your bitcoins as it was still just an academic experiment wasn't worth the time or hassle. Satoshi himself likely didn't keep bitcoins as he continued to update, tweak and change the code of the protocol himself as mining was required for testing. Lost or forgotten passwords also ruined huge swaths of blocks of coins.

Many remember the story published no long ago about the unfortunate man from the UK who threw out his hard drive containing the password for his thousands of bitcoins and tried to retrieve them later from a landfill. There were millions of dollars worth that will never be redeemed or exchanged. Yet the record of those coins still show up on the block chain public record as money being "held". There was no accounting for all of these scenarios in any distribution estimates I've seen. This fact  would play out time and time again. 

So who holds most of the bitcoins from the early years when they were worth nothing?  Likely nobody. They coins are only echo's of miners efforts in an academic though experiment. But because of the nature of bitcoin, their record will never go away.

This fact makes this entire info-graphic and any other estimates for distribution meaningless.






  • Mon, Nov 28, 2016 - 12:13pm



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    Interesting info graphic

this info graphic is very interesting. I agree with mrees99 that it is nonetheless meaningless. 

that said, the btc distribution that favors the early adopters will create a new class of super wealthy.  however, i bet btc economy is going to be more fair and predictable than fiat regimes since no special interest can distort the interest rate / money supply that will end up favoring real estate/stock holders over other groups. 

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