Can We Really Know How Many People Own Bitcoin?

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· 20 Sep 2021

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Since its inception in 2008, Bitcoin has been a mystery in many aspects, including the exact number of BTC owners. The digital currency, based on blockchain technology, isn’t connected to any central bank or government agency. All transactions with it go through online exchanges, and all BTCs are stored in digital wallets. All BTC transactions are semiprivate, and hence, it’s impossible to know precisely who owns cryptocurrencies and how many owners there are.

For all those wondering how many people own Bitcoin, there are many studies conducted on the topic. One of the latest ones reveals there are over 100 million Bitcoin owners worldwide. However, this is the estimated number of owners from 2019, and the world of cryptocurrencies has changed quite a bit since then.

Due to user privacy, we can’t be sure exactly how many owners of Bitcoin or any other currency there are, but we can make some predictions based on the number of Bitcoin addresses, e-wallets, and users on exchange platforms.

How Many Bitcoin Users Are There?

Since there’s no simple and straightforward answer to this question, we’ll focus on the numbers we can actually get. We’ll start with BTC addresses.

There are roughly 460 billion Bitcoin addresses that at some point had more than 0.0 BTC. That doesn’t mean all of them are in use now. In fact, only 172 million BTC addresses are active, meaning that they show real-time Bitcoin transactions. It leaves 288 million addresses without any BTC transactions.

Things get even more complicated if we know that 147 million addresses belong to exchanges, Bitcoin services, merchants, or other market actors. So, the answer to the question “How many Bitcoin addresses are there that belong to private users?” isn’t 288 million but 25 million addresses.

However, the number of Bitcoin addresses that belong to private users doesn’t equate to the number of Bitcoin owners either. To understand this, first, you need to know what a BTC address is. Basically, it’s a unique, publicly visible number used to identify your BTC wallet. BTC address is a string of 26-35 letters that a Bitcoin owner provides to the person from whom they’re buying BTC.

But one person can have multiple BTC addresses. For example, one address can be connected to the owner’s smartphone, the other can be connected to their PC, and so on. Therefore, if we want to find out how many people use Bitcoin, this isn’t the right path to go. One person can have multiple Bitcoin wallets. This is not only possible but relatively common. What’s more, the number of addresses isn’t limited.

To further complicate the matter, BTC platforms store bitcoins that belong to various owners on one address. For instance, some exchanges can hold 100,000 BTC on only one address. However, that doesn’t mean all those bitcoins belong to one person. They can belong to thousands of owners.

How Many Bitcoin Wallets Are There?

Before we answer this question, we’ll briefly explain what a BTC wallet is used for. Bitcoin wallets are used for storing your Bitcoin private and public keys. BTC wallets also store records of all of your BTC transactions, and for most people, they are necessary for completing BTC transactions. There are various types of BTC wallets, like desktop apps, mobile-based wallets, and web wallets. USBs and other hardware devices can also be e-wallets.

According to the latest cryptocurrency statistics, there were over 70 million e-wallet users in March 2021. The number of Bitcoin wallets indicates how many people use e-wallets to complete BTC transactions, but there’s also a small percentage of those who have BTCs on their exchanges only or don’t use e-wallets for BTC transactions.

The number of e-wallet users increased in 2021, based on the number of wallet downloads from the world’s most popular platforms, like Coinbase, Bitcoin Wallet, Bitcoin Wallet by, Blockchain Wallet, Trust, Luno, Binance,, and Coinbase Wallet.

How Many Americans Own Bitcoin?

According to a study conducted by the New York Digital Investment Group, 46 million Americans in 2021 own Bitcoin. That’s already 17% of the US adult population, and the number of Bitcoin users will only grow in the future since many Americans are considering the use of e-wallets and cryptos. The same study has also shown that 75% of respondents are interested to learn more about BTC life insurance and BTC annuities.

Another study, conducted by Mastercard, with 15,000 respondents from 18 countries, has revealed that millennials own more BTCs than any other generation. The study also shows that almost 80% of millennials want to learn how Bitcoin transactions work before they start using bitcoins, while 75% of participants said they would create a Bitcoin account and start using cryptos if they knew more about how they work.

Who Owns the Most Bitcoins?

Based on the research conducted by Traders of Crypto, the person who holds the most BTCs is Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s believed that the inventor of Bitcoin has 1 million bitcoins, although the number has not been officially confirmed.

The next person on the list of the world’s 10 biggest owners of crypto is Micree Zhan, the co-owner of Chinese cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain. He is followed by Chris Larsen, the co-founder of Ripple and many tech startups.


Who currently owns Bitcoin?

The answer to who owns Bitcoin as a system is simple – no one. Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, but it was created to be public and decentralized. It means there’s no single entity – institution or a person – that administers the Bitcoin project. Currently, there are many people who participate in the development of the project.

How many bitcoins are left?

According to estimations, there are approximately three million BTCs left to mine.

How many individuals own a bitcoin?

Some studies indicate there are approximately 20.5 million BTC addresses with 1 BTC or more. However, there’s no precise answer to the question “How many people own Bitcoin?” The number of addresses doesn’t show the real number of BTC owners because one person can have multiple addresses on various e-wallets.

Are bitcoins legal?

Yes, bitcoins are legal in the US, the UK, Japan, and many other countries.