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17% of Bitcoin hasn’t moved in 7 years

Photo of: Nathan VDH
by Nathan VDH

Bitcoin lost or waiting for a nice added value? 17% of the available Bitcoin has been kept on wallets for 7 years now. This represents nearly $160 billion.

Waiting for the right price is a basic principle in the Bitcoin universe. However, in 7 years, the value of the first of the cryptocurrencies has exploded. And many investors have sold BTC in recent months.

At the end of 2020, the CEO of deVere Group sold 50% of its capital. “Why? Because it should now be treated like any other investment,” the finance boss justified. To put it plainly, “it is better to sell high and buy back low”.

Not everyone obviously shares this strategy. A Glassnode indicator, “HODL Wave”, measures the shelf life of Bitcoin. And according to the Unfolded platform, more than 3.3 million BTCs have gone untraded over the last 7 years.

This represents 17.87% of Bitcoin in circulation, or approximately $160 billion at current prices. Beware, however, since this Bitcoin is not necessarily waiting to be sold.

As Decrypt points out, these assets do not necessarily belong to whales. Many BTCs are indeed considered lost, for example due to lost passwords. It is therefore not certain, after 7 years, that this Bitcoin will ever be sold.

“Many of these early portfolios acquired Bitcoin at such a low value, or undermined it and lost it, forgot about it, or simply can’t access it,” commented one expert to our colleagues.

In fact, Chainalysis estimated that in 2020, 3.7 million Bitcoin were lost. According to the same study, 3.5 million tokens were actively traded on the market. Finally, 11.4 million were kept as a long-term investment.

In fact, investors are currently accumulating an increasing number of Bitcoin. How to measure it? By observing BTC’s outgoing flows on the exchanges. According to Glassnode, these outflows are accelerating.

Between February 23 and March 2, Bitcoin held on the crypto stock exchanges fell by 2%. This corresponds to 52,900 Bitcoin (or 2.7 billion dollars) less on the exchanges. In consequence, there are still 2.3 million Bitcoin left on exchanges. This is the lowest level reached since July 2018.