Bitcoin Whales Reawaken After More Than a Decade—With Millions in Profit

A pair of long-dormant Bitcoin wallets are showing signs of life after patiently HODLing millions of dollars in BTC for over a decade.

On Tuesday, address 1CWga moved its entire 149 BTC ($8.59 million) to a new wallet. First acquired in November 2013, the wallet’s entire balance was worth $81,667 at the time, meaning the owner may have realized +10,000% profits.

The second wallet—address 1NNCJ—holds 24.9 BTC worth $1.44 million, and came back to life after more than 11 years. It moved a small number of coins out of the wallet just a few hours ago.

Though Bitcoin transfers of this size are fairly common, coins older than ten years are often assumed to be lost to time. On-chain analysts widely agree that any coins older than five months become far less likely to move in the future, with owners either being the most diamond-handed HODLers—or clumsy investors who have lost the keys to their wallets forever.

With coins from 2013, the latter is often presumed to be the case. Bitcoin hardware wallets that are purpose-built to secure users’ coins weren’t around until July 2014. Even the Mt. Gox exchange was still around back then, which lost 850,000 BTC to hackers before shutting down in February 2014.

For those who have held, analysts agree that they are increasingly likely to sell and take profits as Bitcoin’s price climbs to new highs. That’s why, regarding Mt. Gox, the market is currently fearful that old customers of the exchange who are getting some of their Bitcoin back might mass dump their coins at an enormous profit.

Aside from bankruptcy redistributions and mass government selling, the Bitcoin supply belonging to long-term holders only grows over time, showing that coins continue to freeze up as the years go on. With many investors now buying Bitcoin through ETF products, that trend could accelerate.

“In around three week’s time, there will be an army of Bitcoin commentators talking about long-term holder supply climbing higher,” tweeted lead Glassnode analyst James Check on Tuesday. “Investors (and ETFs) accumulated 5 months ago, and still hold them (but now at a higher cost basis).”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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