According to data sourced by blockchain analytics firm Coin Metrics, more than one fifth of the total available bitcoin supply hasn’t been touched for at least five years. As it stands, there is approximately 3.9 million bitcoin worth almost $30 billion lying around unused. This is now at its highest ever value, and has been steadily growing since early 2015. 

Although a large proportion of this dormant bitcoin can simply be attributed to long-term bitcoin holders, it is likely that at least a small proportion of this bitcoin is tied up in wallets that are either forgotten, lost or otherwise inaccessible. After all, in the past five years alone, the price of bitcoin has increased from $369 up to its current value of $7,500—equivalent to a gain of more than 1,900%.

Anybody still holding bitcoin through such impressive gains can be considered either a seriously strong hand, or unfortunately forgetful with their private keys—essentially passwords used to access and send bitcoin—especially when you consider the fact that anybody investing more than $55,000 into bitcoin in 2014 would now be a millionaire. 


And according to bitinfocharts, there are plenty of addresses that have been dormant for more than five years that contain huge sums of bitcoin.

Looking at the list of the top 100 dormant addresses containing the most bitcoin, these addresses hold a total of 3.45% of the available bitcoin supply with an average balance of 6,506 bitcoin, equivalent to almost $50 million. The largest of these addresses currently holds 79,957 in bitcoin, which is now worth more than $600 million, compared to just $32 million five years ago. Many of these coins likely belong to Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious inventor of bitcoin.

Overall, the amount of bitcoin held dormant has almost doubled since 2014. Should this rate of growth continue, more than a third of the total bitcoin supply would be inactive by 2024. But will this increasing scarcity play into the future price action of bitcoin?

Daily Debrief Newsletter

Start every day with the top news stories right now, plus original features, a podcast, videos and more.