1,700 hold most of bit­coin wealth

Daily Mail - - City & Finance -

FEWER than 1,700 in­vestors own more than a third of all bit­coin, mak­ing the un­reg­u­lated Wild West mar­ket easy for ma­jor play­ers to rig.

A study by rat­ings agency Stan­dard & Poor’s found that 1,650 own­ers of bit­coin with 1,000 or more units of the on­line cur­rency – worth £8m at today’s prices – have 39pc of the to­tal amount in cir­cu­la­tion. Around 26.3m in­vestors have less than 100 bit­coin each – giv­ing them a 38pc over­all share.

Mail anal­y­sis sug­gests this group have an av­er­age of 0.24 units each, worth around £2,000 at today’s prices. By con­trast, the top 1,650 have an av­er­age £31.2m each. The S&P re­searchers warned that with so much of the mar­ket in the hands of a few in­vestors, there is a dan­ger they can en­gi­neer prices lower or higher for their own ben­e­fit.

‘This con­cen­tra­tion, along with the un­reg­u­lated na­ture of this in­stru­ment, makes it prone to mar­ket ma­nip­u­la­tion,’ they said.

The agency also warned that bit­coin and sim­i­lar in­ter­net-based cur­ren­cies are prone to wild price swings which make their use as money low. In­stead, most peo­ple have piled in on the hope that they can get rich quick.

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