update 18 August 2021

Growing Adoption of Bitcoin Sees A Soar in Its Address Holders

The total number of Bitcoin addresses with one or more BTC increased from 707,000 in 2019 to stand at 784,000 as of 14th January 2020. According to Glassnode, this represents an 11% increase over the same period and a doubling of the 2015 figures.

Explaining the reasons behind the steady rise, Connor Abendschein of Digital Assets Data in Denver said it is due to retail buyers’ accumulation of the coin. Abendschein posed that the increase in the number of addresses holding more Bitcoins indicated a rise in its adoption as a store of value.

Exchanges and Whales Pushing Bitcoin Growth

The growth could also be attributed to an increase in the activities of exchanges and whales. These often hold huge account balances and, as a result, always top lists of major BTC holders.

According to data from bitinfocharts.com, renowned exchanges Houbi, Bitfinex, and Binance hold three out of five leading addresses. Of these, Huobi’s cold wallet with its current holding of 255,502 BTC tops the list. 

Apart from that, there’s been a consistent annual 10% increase in addresses holding between 0.1 BTC and 1 BTC.

The Role Of Retail Accumulators

The retail accumulation-that has been remarkable to date-accounts for increasing numbers of addresses with more coins.

BTCs prices soared from $3,600 to $13,880 within the first half of last year, only to come hurtling down to $6,430 in December. The year witnessed the registration of 77,000 new addresses holding Bitcoins.

Commenting on the issue, Yassine Elmandjra at ARK Invest opined, “Address balances are a good proxy for potential unique users.” He holds that the growth in the volume of unique Bitcoin addresses is indicative of the continued rise in the distribution of Bitcoin wealth.

Growth not Indicative of New Investments

All the same, the whales still dominate the market. By the end of last month, the number of investors having between one thousand and one million Bitcoins comprised  42.1% of the total market. This is a significant increase compared to the bull market period of 2017 when they constituted  37.9% of all holdings.

price change

That said, the growth of unique addresses doesn’t necessarily imply new investors’ entry into the market. Theoretically, an investor may hold 1,000 BTC in 1,000 different addresses or more. As such, the metric has its limitations. It’s noteworthy that the growth of addresses doesn’t translate into increased market participation.