The amount of eth on exchanges appears to be smaller than initially thought according to our estimates based on blockchain data.
One of the biggest crypto exchange, Binance, appears to have just 2.1 million eth, worth just $370 million at the current price of about $180.
They hold nearly triple that for ethereum based tokens at some $900 million, with $170 million for just Chainlink, but the eth amount is about 2% of total supply.
Bitfinex is ranked second here going by total holdings, but that’s from the labeled tags which are incomplete.
The sixth address, for example, is obviously Bitfinex’s because almost all of its current holdings were transferred from the Bitfinex old address in 2016.
So Bitfinex has at least three million eth and some $700 million worth of eth based tokens with the biggest holding here being their own token, Bitfinex’s LEO at some $600 million, and SAN at $17 million.
Kraken has about 2.5 million eth, with this being one of the earliest exchange to list it, but of tokens they have very few, if indeed any real tokens.
Bittrex, quite interestingly, is a fairly big eth holder. Interestingly because they’re not generally perceived to be as big as the above mentioned exchanges, but Bittrex listed eth even before Kraken, second only to Poloniex.
Poloniex itself, which has been acquired by Circle, had at least 2 million eth last year, but after they listed the ethereum-chain split ETC, ethereans started not using them much.
Huobi and Gemini seem to be around the same level except that the 18th address is clearly Huobi’s. So the former China based exchange is quite a bit bigger than Gemini while South Korea’s Upbit is quite a bit down at just 300,000 eth with pretty much no tokens.
Their trading volumes have dropped too at now just $13 million, while Bithumb is at $32 million. The latter used to reach a billion dollars or more for eth in trading volumes in 2017 within a 24 hour period.
Now we can’t even see Bithumb in the top holdings, but that may well be because no one has bothered to label their address or because like Coinbase they chop their cold wallets into very small ones holding circa 5,000 each or so.
Likewise OKex is not showing up save for about 100,000 eth or so when you’d think it should be around Huobi levels at least.
This data however clearly shows that Bitfinex is the biggest holder for eth, which is fairly surprising as their trading volumes are just $15 million.
Binance is obviously the biggest for eth based tokens, with the rest no where near in that regard, not least because they don’t list them.
We can’t see Coinbase, but we’d think they third or so for eth itself, with Bittrex then maybe fourth, followed by Huobi and, you’d think, OKex, with Gemini and the rest then further down.
This all suggests there has been a very significant change in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in South Korea with one reason being a restrictive regulatory requirement implemented in January 2018 that demands “real name trading” which practically translates to the bank having to give a pin to be entered on the crypto exchange before gaining access to buying/selling eth or any crypto on centralized exchanges in addition to it being limited to South Korean nationals only.
The data further shows that there’s a lot less eth on exchanges than expected with it at just 10%, but realistically when accounting for unknown figures like Coinbase holdings, we’d say about 20% of eth in total is held on exchanges.
This eth is not quite what sets the price as these are mainly cold wallets, although address 18 might be a hot wallet as it has too many transactions, in which case that would either be very irresponsible of Huobi as there’s probably no reason for it to have so much eth on a hot wallet, or we have mislabeled it as being Huobi’s but there’s little reason to doubt this is a hot wallet.
For the rest, however, a better wording may be that about 20% of all eth is kind of permanently “stored” on exchanges, with eth then constantly moving in and out of the hot wallets.
That movement can have a significant effect on price, as can Over the Counter (OTC) buying and selling which isn’t easy to see from this specific data.
That estimated 20 million eth, of which at least 12 million is known, is thus more on standby, easily readily active if there is some movement.
How much fiat is on standby we can’t see, but banks can see the dollar amounts and can carry the above analysis just as easily as we did if the exchange/s banks with them, while for regulators it can be regardless.
So in that system they can see privileged information and they can see what we’re doing, while we can’t see anything whatever about them except for whatever they reveal.
While here we can see their information and what they are doing, while to see what ordinary people are doing is extremely difficult because you can’t tell if an address is a change of ownership unless you know the owner/s of the address or it’s extremely obvious because it’s a very big amounts moving.
This thus changes the power balance while making the data open to all at the same time, so allowing for greater accountability and scrutiny, as well as a quicker transfer of information due to it updating live and openly.
Meaning we can estimate things like probably, at the lower end, some 60% of eth from unknown entities/addresses are in cold storage and at the higher end it may be 70% of the total supply.
The rest is either on exchanges or exchange like services where the price is predominantly formed.