Just how many Bitcoin billionaires are there in the world? Nobody knows for sure, but recent speculations have the number pinpointed to somewhere between 35 and 200 – a far cry from the two everyone thought back in December.
The Winklevoss twins were the first publicly verified Bitcoin billionaires, holding around 91,666 Bitcoin, which at the time would have equaled about $1.063 billion. The keyword there, however, is “public”. We knew about the twins; they weren’t keeping their wealth a secret. But not everyone wishes to be a public figure, for any number of reasons (which will be discussed below), so the likelihood that the twins were the only Bitcoin billionaires was pretty slim.
Why is it so difficult to figure out how many people hold a certain amount of Bitcoin? Well, for one, the very nature of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is to provide an anonymous source of currency. There are some who are exceptions to the rule, such as the Winklevoss twins, but there are many more people who fall into the rule, keeping their identities secret. Bitcoin makes it very easy to remain anonymous as well. Those that are smart will keep their funds in a digital wallet. Those that are really smart (and those that hold large fortunes of Bitcoin) will keep their funds in multiple wallets. We may be able to see how much is in this or that wallet, but we have no way of knowing if this or that wallet is owned by the same person or group – especially if those wallets don’t link to one another in a traditional way.
Why would someone want to keep their Bitcoin ownership a secret? For one thing, hackers. If a hacker knew exactly who they needed to target, I would imagine it would be easier to target them. Those that were publicly out as Bitcoin billionaires would also be among the few cryptocurrency investors who would be hit hard with taxes and regulations that government agencies aren’t able to throw at Bitcoin due to the complexity and anonymity of the cryptocurrency world. That alone is certainly enough for someone to want to keep their billionaire status secret.
In all likelihood, most of the Bitcoin billionaires, however many there are, are probably made up groups of people. exchanges or hedge funds. There are probably fewer individual billionaires as the rose-tinted glasses would like to have us believe. But any way you slice it, the Winklevoss twins are definitely not the only ones out there.
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