With some whales hoarding vast amounts of cryptocurrency, it pays to know who the big players are. Here are seven big cryptocurrency addresses you should pay attention to.
1. Satoshi Nakamoto: The Genesis Block
The first Genesis block mined by Satoshi represents one of the possible thousands of blocks mined by Mr. Nakamoto. Bitcoin block one, sometimes known as “Block 0” transferred the first block reward of 50 Bitcoins. Yet, these funds can never get spent. Due to the design of Bitcoin, this Genesis block is not stored on the blockchain, leaving the funds inaccessible.
Satoshi Nakamoto kept on mining Bitcoins for a long time after this first block. It’s estimated that he or she owns 1,148,800 Bitcoins. Nobody can say this figure is 100% correct, as Satoshi’s vanishing act means nobody can confirm or deny the ownership of these funds. All we know for certain is these funds have never moved and could have a drastic impact on the market should they get listed for sale.
Satoshi mined all these blocks using the same computer but spread the rewards over 140 wallets. Sergio at Bitslog theorizes that the same computer mined a significant number of blocks, leading him to speculate that almost all the early wallets belong to Nakamoto. You can read more about Sergio’s wallet research.
2. Largest Bitcoin Wallet
With a balance of over 120,000 Bitcoins, the mysterious 385cR5DM96n1HvBDMzLHPYcw89fZAXULJP address represents the largest holdings of Bitcoin in one wallet on the whole network.
This is the cold storage wallet for the Bittrex exchange, and it has received over 130,000 Bitcoins and sent over 9000. This figure is even more impressive when you look at its creation date of December 2018. While this wallet may not represent 100% of Bittrex’s total balance, it’s still a significant holding for one wallet.
Wallet address 3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r deserves the title of biggest whale. This wallet has a balance of over 76,000 Bitcoins at the time of writing, but it has had over one million Bitcoins pass through it, with over 5,000 transactions. This is the Bitfinex cold wallet. Quite why a cold wallet has so many transactions is a mystery. Perhaps Bitfinex needs to access their funds more often than other exchanges.
3. Biggest Ethereum Wallet
The largest Ethereum account holder is also another exchange. Binance own over 2.1 million Ether in their 0x4e9ce36e442e55ecd9025b9a6e0d88485d628a67 wallet. The largest balance this wallet has ever owned was 2,604,910 Ether on 15th May 2019. This wallet has had 246 transactions, which is not an insignificant number for a cold wallet.
Such a vast number of Ether in one wallet represents an attractive prize for hackers, and we’d be far more comfortable with Binance splitting their funds into much smaller portions and splitting them across many more wallets. While we doubt the Ethereum blockchain is liable to hacking, social engineering or any other number of mistakes by Binance could lead to a loss of funds, as the latest Binance hack illustrates.
4. Largest Litecoin Wallet
This Litecoin rich list is close enough between the top two for us to declare it a tie. The largest address is M8T1B2Z97gVdvmfkQcAtYbEepune1tzGua with 1,094,395 Litecoins at the time of writing. This is closely followed by MBuTKxJaHMN3UsRxQqpGRPdA7sCfE1UF7n which has 1,072,220 Litecoins.
It’s unclear who owns these wallets, but it’s probable that these both belong to exchanges. Both wallets are less than one year old and have small test transactions before the bulk of the main funds arrive. Transferring funds to new wallets is a good security practice, especially for exchanges and large balances. Should someone gain access to a private key, or an employee leaves on bad terms, rotating wallets limits the timeframe for any possible theft or other fraud to occur.
5. Bitcoin Bitfinex Hack Address
Bitcoin wallet 17owg8RWb73qfE5HeQk6gg6RAgEUfxPXks is a suspect in the Bitfinex hack in 2016, during which Bitfinex lost over 120,000 Bitcoins.
While this address has handled over 1700 Bitcoins, it’s suspected by the community for its potential involvement.
You should do everything possible to avoid addresses such as this. Exchanges blacklist them, and transferring funds to or from them is likely to taint your own wallet. If you’re seen to associate with hackers, you may find yourself blacklisted, unable to spend your funds. You could spend your funds on the Darknet, but if you have legitimate use cases for Bitcoin (even simple things like converting to fiat), then good luck with that.
6. Coincheck/NEM Theft
In 2018, crypto exchange Coincheck lost 500 million NEM (XEM) in a huge hack. In this instance, the criminals withdrew the funds to 11 different wallets.
Thanks to some clever detective work, all the funds are now tagged as stolen, so all the exchanges and the vast majority of NEM tools refuse to trade with these addresses. All the stolen funds moved to NC4C6PSUW5CLTDT5SXAGJDQJGZNESKFK5MCN77OG, but this account is inactive now. The hacker distributed the funds to various other wallets.
7. Cryptopia Ether Hack
At the start of 2019, New Zealand based exchange Cryptopia lost almost 30,000 Ether in a huge hack, which led to the demise of the exchange. The majority of the funds went to this memorable address: 0xd4e79226f1e5a7a28abb58f4704e53cd364e8d11, where most of them still remain.
The fact that most of these funds still remain in the wallet is interesting. This address is not accepted by any exchanges, and it appears as if the thieves are finding it difficult to liquidate. If these stolen funds move to any other address, they are sure to come under heavy scrutiny and further blacklisting. As with all stolen funds, you’ll do well to avoid associating with these wallets.
Be Careful Who You Associate With
As is the case with many of these hacks, be careful who you send or receive funds from. Many exchanges may mark you as guilty by association if you trade with “dirty” cryptocurrency.
If you’re looking for notifications of any big transactions, then take a look at WhaleAlert, which lets you customize thresholds to trigger notifications.
Finally, you can learn more about some of these hacks in Dan’s piece about lessons learned from hacks in 2019.