Bitcoin (BTC) may be worth almost three times more than at the height of its 2017 bull run, but a lot of hodlers from that time refuse to sell.
The latest data from Bitcoin financial services firm Unchained Capital shows that 2017 buyers control an increasingly large amount of the BTC supply.
2017 hodlers are not “weak hands”
According to Unchained’s HODL Waves chart, which ranks the supply according to when coins last moved, those who bought three to five years ago are sitting on their investment.
Since the cross-asset crash of March 2020, when BTC/USD fell to lows of $3,600, the percentage of the BTC supply that last moved between February 2016 and February 2018 increased from 5.57% to 13.38%.
In other words, the uptrend in price during 2019, much of 2020 and all of 2021 has not made 2017 bull run investors sell after surviving the multi-year bear market.
By contrast, the five to seven-year and seven to ten-year hodl crowd has been reducing its presence over the past year.
“At the beginning of January, 59% of all bitcoin in the network were sitting for longer than 1 year without moving, and by the end of the month, that number dipped to 57%, a decrease of 2% or around roughly 372,320 bitcoin,” Unchained wrote in an update earlier this month.
“It appears that most of the bitcoin transacted during January was bitcoin sitting for less than 3 years, as the bitcoin resting for 3-5 years actually increased by .8%, totally unperturbed by the price volatility. These are the folks that have been holding ever since the last price spike of $15,500 in January 2018, or from $431 in January of 2016.”
10-Year veterans hold tight
The data counteracts an informal narrative still found online which claims that Bitcoin breaching $20,000 for the first time since 2017 last year triggered a mass sell-off from investors desperate to exit at parity or with a modest profit.
As Cointelegraph reported, subsequent gains produced limited selling beyond the whale investor crowd, with any price drips aggressively bought up.
HODL Waves likewise confirms that appetite for Bitcoin has not been dented by price rises beyond $30,000, $40,000 and even $50,000.
A separate cohort, those who bought before 2011, is meanwhile similarly responsible for a larger amount of the supply. Since March 15, 2020, their share has increased from 6.85% to 10.24%.
A stash of 100 BTC, untouched since 2010, made its first reappearance on the network this week.
11 August 2020, dotted blue line, US corporations led by $MSTR begin buying #bitcoin as a treasury asset. pic.twitter.com/LEMNzwqQru
— Willy Woo (@woonomic) February 25, 2021
Unlike 2016-2018, however, the situation is complicated by the advent of largescale corporate buyers, notably MicroStrategy, which this week announced its latest buy-in, taking its total Bitcoin holdings to over 90,000 BTC.