About one in ten Bitcoin (BTC) has not been moved for 10 or more years. At least that’s what the blockchain analysis company Glassnode says.
Millions of Bitcoin not moved for over 10 years
Glassnode’s data shows that 1,857,721 Bitcoin have remained “stationary” for over 10 years (as of December 17th). With a total of around 18,573,268 BTC floating around (although that number is growing every 10 minutes as miners find new blocks), that translates to around 10% of all BTC that has been mined to date.
Old Bitcoin hasn’t moved
Still, while some Bitcoin maximalists may see this as a sign of genuine „Hodler“ commitment, the reality is much less romantic. Most of these BTCs have likely been „dead“ long ago – lost forever due to various circumstances so that no one can ever use them.
1 million BTC from Satoshi Nakamoto
First off, the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, mined around 1 million BTC (according to various estimates) that has not been moved in over a decade. Since no one knows where he – or she – could be today, or even whether they are still alive, the fate of these bitcoins is unclear.
On January 3, 2019, Glassnode’s charts will begin to show the number of BTC that have not been moved in 10 years. That’s because it’s exactly 10 years since the Bitcoin network started and Nakamoto started mining his first coins.
In total, 3.7 million BTC are likely lost forever
But even if we remove Nakamoto’s bitcoin inventory from the equation, another 2.6 million bitcoins are likely lost forever as well. This could be for a variety of reasons including misplaced private keys, broken hard drives, intentionally burned BTC, or even people dying without leaving their wallets to anyone.
In total, at least 3.7 million Bitcoin – or around 20% of all BTC currently in existence – has most likely gone.
At current prices, the Bitcoin is worth $ 83.3 billion that has been sunk into oblivion.