40% of the World’s Bitcoins Are Held by Just 1,000 People

Considering getting into bitcoin as prices soar above $15,500? It’s not hard to see why—the asset has gained $8,000 in the last month.

But realize this about the historically volatile currency: An estimated 1,000 people own about 40% of the world’s total bitcoin, for an average of about $105.6 million per person, according to Aaron Brown of AQR Capital Management, per Bloomberg Businessweek.

That’s in part a lucky pool of investors who bet on a cryptocurrency strongly linked to the dark net just a few years earlier. But newer bitcoin investors trying to jump on board should be aware: That also means those 1,000 or so people have outsized ability to influence bitcoin prices. That’s potentially even more risky considering bitcoin’s value isn’t based on any underlying asset, but rather largely on human sentiment.

“As in any asset class, large individual holders and large institutional holders can and do collude to manipulate price,” Ari Paul, co-founder of BlockTower Capital and a former portfolio manager of the University of Chicago endowment, told Bloomberg…

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