1,700 hold most of bitcoin wealth
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.