The 5 biggest whales by crypto project: a distribution that lacks justice?

While we are currently going through the most delicate phase of Bitcoin cycles, cryptocurrencies and especially altcoins have seen their market value decline significantly. But large proprietors continue on every project.

With this article, we will focus on the individuals or entities that have the most cryptocurrencies from the same project (excluding stack coins). Are the amounts unequal, especially for projects where the crypto in question is also a governance token that gives voting rights?

1- Bitcoin & Satoshi Nakamoto

Recently at Be[In]Crypto, we have written an article about the main Bitcoin whales (devices or individuals) and resumed rankings available from data from Blockchain. Although it is difficult to establish a concrete and definitive classification given that the whales update their bitcoin holdings on a weekly basis and that they secure their assets within multiple wallets, it is possible to assume.

However, it can be noted that after the theoretical 1.1 million tokens that the mysterious creator Satoshi Nakomoto would be in possession of, i.e. almost 5.78% of the Bitcoin supply currently in circulation and 5.23% when all Bitcoins will be mined, the major holders will remain in withdrawal.

Disregarding Satoshi Nakamoto’s possessions, large whales have much smaller possessions. Although together they own almost half of the bitcoins in circulation, their weight will individually remain low at 1.32% of the coins in circulation for the whale, which comes in first place in the rankings.

However, some whales could have more BTC saved on other wallets and especially cold wallets.

2-Ethereum and Vitalik Buterin

Founders in verves for Ethereum blockchain and other blockchains. The initial grant for the launch of the projects makes a strong contribution to building large fortunes when these mentioned projects operate.

For Vitalik Butherin, the founder of Ethereum, an initial “reward” of more than 500,000 ethers would have been awarded, making him one of the most important whales of the token. The main “Ethereum killers” have obtained distributions similar to those adopted by the founders of Ethereum. *

According to ClankApp, Ethereum’s largest whale owns almost 11% (10.87%) of the tokens in circulation. While Ether’s supply is deflationary, this share promises to be strengthened in the future. In exact value, there are exactly 12,986,325 ethers in this portfolio.

The other wallets are in withdrawal and generally have no more than 2% of the tokens in circulation, with the exception of the 2nd whale, which with a number of 4,690,554 tokens comprises 3.92% of the offer. These amounts would be significantly larger than those owned by Vitalik Buterin, which would therefore have a small percentage of ethers compared to Satoshi Nakamoto’s potential Bitcoin portfolio.

3-BNB Coin and Changpeng Zhao

While BNB Coin is still a young token compared to the first two, it has gained significant market value in a short time, driving itself into the top 5 tokens by market value if USDT stablecoins are included, and USDC at the top.

For this token, however, the distribution is different, with a founder who would own a large portion of BNB. In fact, according to an article presenting the whales from each crypto project, Changpeng Zhao or “CZ” would hold nearly 40% of the total supply. Enough to have some control over the token, its price movements and the speculation surrounding it.

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4-XRP and Brad Garlinghouse & Chris Larsen

The Ripple teams own the majority of the tokens, as these are not fully in circulation at present, and the distribution is gradual with additions on a monthly basis. However, the founders and CEO inherited generous handouts of tokens, which also makes them great holders.

Although for Ripple it is more difficult to achieve an accurate top, some wallets represent a significant weight. So, for example, 94,157,328 of tokens are held by the first BEP-20 wallet. According to some sources, Chris Larsen is currently the largest owner of XRP.

5-Solana and the founding team

Solana would have an equally large distribution reserved for the founding team and would have allocated almost 13% of the total token supply. These were worth at the time of distribution almost $ 0.20.

By May 2022, the 20 largest holders own almost 22% of the tokens currently in circulation. The amount in SOL is therefore almost 74 million tokens, enough to weigh into any kind of evolution associated with Blockchain Solana.

However, the largest addresses on Blockchain Solana have a low dominance in terms of tokens, which is in contrast to other projects. In fact, only 4 addresses would own more than 1% of the tokens issued, which is nothing alarming or impressive if we compare with the holders of the BNB token.

Really decentralized projects?

For some of the projects discussed and for others not covered by this article and having a similar configuration, the distribution of tokens may appear unequal, with an initial distribution of questionable fairness.

Normally, cryptocurrencies must follow a decentralized configuration, with in some cases voting opportunities within communities through governance tokens. But in some cases, the decision-making power that we believe we have may prove to be very theoretical, as the founding teams of the project have a sufficient or almost sufficient portion of tokens for a vote to be approved in their favor.

For example, votes related to token listing on Binance are open to all BNB holders, but there is no doubt that if CZ and the other founding members of Binance and its tokens participated in the vote, the result would seem decided in advance. The more BNB you have, the more votes you get.

Start-ups or companies related to cryptocurrencies follow allocation models similar to companies, but companies must have more influence on decision-making power, as these are based on this type of model. But cryptocurrencies take or want to take a different stance, with a decentralized world where decisions are made jointly.

With an unequal distribution of tokens, community votes appear to be undemonstrative. In fact, one or more whales may prove to be “powerful” enough to tip the scales in its favor during a community vote.

For Ryan Watkins, an analyst at Messari, the distribution that gives a significant portion of tokens to the founders would therefore be an expression of democracy.

When building systems that are supposed to be more democratic [vote sur les décision des projets]it’s just not democratic

Ryan Watkins analyst at Messari.


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