The fact that all public addresses are available online allows anyone to check who owns the most bitcoins. However, before starting to analyze the data, there are two things to consider.
First, a person or organization that owns a lot of BTC rarely keeps them all on one public address: a wallet can contain many different public addresses, and it is very common that BTC owners actually have more than one wallet.
This makes it very difficult to trace the bitcoin assets of individuals, companies or organizations using only the data recorded on the public blockchain.
Secondly, public addresses are anonymous, so unless it is known to whom they belong, it is not possible to simply deduce it from the blockchain. However, there are techniques for analyzing the blockchain itself that sometimes make it possible to assign a name to public addresses.
That being said, there is a public list of addresses that contain the most BTC from which it is possible to attempt to figure out who owns the most bitcoins.
At this moment the single public address with the most bitcoins belongs to the Huobi exchange, which holds more than 250,000 BTC, equivalent to more than two billion dollars, or 1.41% of all bitcoins in circulation.
However, Huobi certainly also owns other public addresses, and the bitcoins stored at this address actually belong to the users of the exchange, and not to the exchange itself.
The first 11 public addresses with the greatest amount of BTC held include those of the Binance, Bitfinex and Bittrex exchanges, while six of these have no known owner.
In reality, the single person or organization that holds the most bitcoins would seem to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the Bitcoin protocol, which according to different estimates should own at least 1.1 million BTC, or more than 6% of all bitcoins created to date, equal to a fortune of almost ten billion dollars.
However, these bitcoins have been stationary for a long time, and it seems that they may never be used again due to the fact that Satoshi has disappeared (perhaps passed away) and that the private keys of the more than 16,000 public addresses where they are stored have been lost.
As far as is known, Bulgaria could be in second place, with over 200,000 BTC owned, although the story of Bulgaria owning bitcoins is quite controversial.
In fact, there is no official confirmation that those BTC were actually seized by the Bulgarian state, nor that they are still in its possession, despite the fact that the confiscation that spawned this nearly $2 billion treasure seems to have actually taken place, and that there is no record of those bitcoins ever having been used.
The FBI is also expected to own many bitcoins, here too because of the confiscation of assets that occasionally lead the agency to seize several BTC.
However, the bitcoins that are confiscated are usually auctioned and sold after a while, so the FBI’s BTC assets are constantly changing and do not accumulate.
With regard to individuals who hold many bitcoins, there are more certainties, as it is common knowledge that some people have several thousands of them.
Among them, there are certainly the twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, owners of the Gemini exchange, who invested in bitcoin part of the $65 million compensation received by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, at a time when a BTC cost only $120.
Another owner of a large amount of BTC is developer Gavin Andresen, the person who became the main developer of the Bitcoin open source code after the disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto in 2011, who in turn is suspected to be the real Satoshi.
Roger Ver, the co-founder of Bitcoin.com, also owns many BTC, as do some of the other people who have been involved in the project since its inception.
Other BTC owners are Tim Draper, Dan Morehead of Pantera Capital, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan of Bitmain, venture capitalist Barry Silbert, Tony Gallippi of BitPay, and Charlie Shrem.