Who Really Owns Crypto?

A close look at the top 5 contenders for who really owns cryptocurrency.

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When people talk about who really owns crypto, they’re usually talking about two things:

1. The global distribution of cryptocurrency wallets, and
2. The different types of entities that hold cryptocurrency.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both of these topics.

First, let’s start with a quick overview of the global distribution of cryptocurrency wallets.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual asset designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency. Essentially, cryptocurrencies are limited entries in a database that no one can change unless specific conditions are fulfilled.

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they are not subject to government or financial institution control. The prices of cryptocurrencies are volatile and go up and down quickly. This means that investing in cryptocurrency is risky, but there can also be potential for large profits.

Bitcoin, the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, was created in 2009. Since then, there have been many other cryptocurrencies created. Some of the more popular ones include Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

Who owns cryptocurrency?

The ownership of cryptocurrency is a hotly contested topic. Different people have different opinions on who really owns cryptocurrency. Some say that the government owns it, some say that the people own it, and some say that no one really owns it. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

The government

The government owns cryptocurrency. This is because the cryptocurrency is not regulated by any financial institution or government. The government does not control the value of the currency, its supply, or its production. The only authority that can regulate cryptocurrency is the country’s central bank.


Banks are one of the most important players in the cryptocurrency space. They are responsible for safeguarding crypto assets and providing liquidity to the market.

There are a few different ways that banks can get involved in cryptocurrency. The first is by offering custodial services to their clients. This means that the bank will hold onto the crypto assets for their clients and keep them safe. They will also provide insurance in case the crypto is lost or stolen.

Another way that banks can get involved is by providing loans to people who want to buy cryptocurrency. This is a riskier proposition for the bank, but it can be done if the borrower has collateral to put up against the loan.

The last way that banks can get involved is by trading cryptocurrency themselves. This is usually done through investment vehicles like Bitcoin ETFs.


In general,individuals own the majority of cryptocurrency. According to a surveyfrom the global professional services firm PwC, 84 percent of institutional investors say they would never invest in cryptocurrency.

This lack of interest from institutional investors is due to a variety of reasons. For one, cryptocurrency is highly volatile. It’s not uncommon for the prices of individual coins to fluctuate 20 percent or more in a single day. This makes cryptocurrency a risky investment for institutions that are trying to minimize risk.

Another reason institutions have been slow to adopt cryptocurrency is due to concerns about regulation. The cryptocurrency market is currently unregulated, which means there are no rules or guidelines that institutional investors need to follow. This lack of regulation makes some institutional investors wary of investing in cryptocurrency.

Individual investors, on the other hand, are not as constrained by these concerns. They are more likely to take on riskier investments, like cryptocurrency, because they can afford to lose money without serious financial consequences.

Cryptocurrency also offers individual investors a way to store wealth outside of the traditional financial system. This appeals to individuals who are distrustful of banks or government institutions.

The anonymity of cryptocurrency is another factor that attracts individuals to this asset class. When you own cryptocurrency, your identity is not attached to your coins in the same way it is with traditional investments like stocks or bonds. This anonymity can appeal to individuals who want to keep their financial activity private.

Who controls cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual asset that uses cryptography to secure its transactions. Cryptocurrency is decentralized, which means it is not subject to government or financial institution control. So, who really owns cryptocurrency?

The government

It’s complicated. While the government can’t control cryptocurrency, it can influence how it’s used and taxed. In some countries, like China, cryptocurrency isillegal. In others, like the United States, cryptocurrency islegal but subject to stringent regulations.

The government has three primary ways to influence cryptocurrency: taxation, regulation and outright bans.

Taxation is the most common way that governments interact with crypto. In most cases, capital gains taxes apply to profits from buying and selling crypto. This means that if you buy crypto for $1,000 and sell it later for $10,000, you’ll owe taxes on your $9,000 profit.

Regulation is the second most common way that governments interact with crypto. Regulations surrounding crypto can vary widely from country to country. In the United States, for example, regulations are relatively lax compared to other countries like China or South Korea. This difference in regulation can have a big impact on how easy it is to buy and sell crypto in each country.

The third way that governments interact with cryptocurrency is through outright bans. In China and South Korea, for example, it’s illegal to buy or sell crypto. This doesn’t stop people from doing it though – there’s always a way around such bans if people are determined enough.

Ultimately, whether or not you have to pay taxes on your cryptocurrencies depends on where you live and what kind of activity you’re engaging in with them. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not you need to pay taxes on your crypto profits, it’s best to consult with a tax professional in your country of residence.


It’s no secret that banks have been resistant to cryptocurrencies. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, famously called Bitcoin a “fraud” in 2017 and said he would fire any employee who traded it. Other bigwigs in the banking world have made similar statements.

Why the hostility? Banks are built on trust. They rely on customers trusting them to keep their money safe and to lend it out wisely. Cryptocurrencies, by contrast, are decentralized. There is no central authority controlling them. That lack of trustworthiness is a big turn-off for banks.

There are other reasons, too. Cryptocurrencies are much easier to move around than traditional fiat currencies like dollars or euros. That makes them attractive to criminals and terrorists who may use them to launder money or finance illegal activities. Banks are required by law to help prevent money laundering, so they’re naturally wary of anything that makes it easier.

Finally, cryptocurrencies are a new and untested technology. They’re volatile and prone to hacking attacks. That makes them a risky investment for banks, which tend to be conservative when it comes to new ideas.

All these factors add up to an uneasy relationship between banks and cryptocurrency companies. Banks have been slow to offer services to crypto businesses, and many have outright refused to do business with them. That’s starting to change as the industry matures, but there’s still a long way to go before crypto is fully accepted by the mainstream banking world.


At the moment, cryptocurrencies are mostly held by individuals. This isn’t surprising, since cryptoassets are often bought as investments, or for use in decentralized applications (dapps). We don’t yet see widespread use of crypto in day-to-day transactions, although this is slowly changing.

There are a few reasons why individuals hold such a large share of the crypto pie. One is that it’s still early days for the industry, and most people who are interested in crypto are still buying it for speculative purposes. Another is that cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated, so there’s no obvious institutional investment yet.

We expect this to change over time, as both usage and regulation of cryptocurrencies increase. As institutional investors enter the space, we expect the individual share of the pie to shrink.


So, if you’re thinking about investing in cryptocurrency, or if you already have some skin in the game, it’s important to understand who owns crypto and how that might affect its future. While there are some cryptocurrency heavyweights out there, the majority of ownership is actually quite dispersed. And that may be one of the things that makes crypto so appealing to many investors.

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