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With Bitcoin ETFs on the horizon I expect that I am not the only person hoping to gain deeper understanding of the way bitcoin moves. I wonder if there is any insight in which part of the bitcoins moved recently. Or perhaps it would be easier to say which part of bitcoins did not move.

Example 1: Completely no movement

Suppose there is an wallet that held 1 bitcoin recently, with nothing coming in or out. Then that would certainly be 1 bitcoin that did not move.

Example 2: Possible movement

Suppose there is a wallet that currently holds 10 bitcoin. There was earlier 1 transaction where 3 bitcoin arrived. You could say there are 7 bitcoin that did not move, but this would be difficult to generalize when many transactions happen, so I would not mind if we simply said the bitcoin in this wallet moved (so 0 did not move).

Hence the question

How much bitcoin did (not) move in the past year, or in a recent day

Thoughts so far

I believe that it should be possible to determine this with the information from the blockchain. Of course we would ignore anything off-chain but that is fine.

I found the number of bitcoin currently in circulation, as well as the 24 hour transactional volume. However I believe transactional volume would for a significant part be driven by multiple transactions of the same coin (back and forth or a > b > c).

2 Answers 2

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Suppose there is a wallet that currently holds 10 bitcoin.

We don't, in general, have access to reliable information about other people's wallets. At least, not from public blockchain data.

How much bitcoin did (not) move in the past year, or in a recent day

I suspect the only meaningful measure is the monetary amount of transaction outputs (UTXOs) created in blocks whose timestamp falls within the 24 hour period in question.

Obviously this isn't what you seek, it doesn't, for example, account for outputs returning change or for off-chain exchange activity but it is reliable.

I believe transactional volume would for a significant part be driven by multiple transactions of the same coin (back and forth or a > b > c).

A problem here is that the nearest thing to a coin in Bitcoin is a UTXO and UTXOs only ever make one trip, they can't travel back and forth. In each transaction the coins being spent are destroyed and there is no infallible way to link the value of a destroyed coin to specific newly created coins in any useful way related to your goal.

See

In block 669188 there is a transaction 1218…d33e.
If you look at that in a blockchain explorer such as blockchair the details will be shown as

Senders

Amount Address
0.00149566 BTC 3PxGWkwnxQ88zQw8TgBiYrH4pQxhakmN16
0.05809775 BTC 3CDcCbis6dEBeksMY8uYhWyU3EaLN6vh82

Recipients

Address Amount
1C7cDqqGK5vscgPfD9d6gwcMw2tSRb4Q1Q 0.01076317 BTC
3BwbGdAidTuFLYdAhgVX1DgnoPCJ9fECRY 0.04809524 BTC

Where did the 0.00149566 BTC end up? At 1C7c…4Q1q or at 3Bwb…ECRY? No one can say, it may not be a meaningful question.

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  • I think you could look at the sum of the values of UTXOs created within the last 24h. It wouldn't be exactly representative (it'd include change, which financially speaking doesn't leave the sender's wallet), and it would lack custodial trade activity (e.g. within exchanges, or ETF transfers), but at least it would be measurable, and it would not double-count multiple transactions within the 24h window. Commented Jan 11 at 12:40
  • @Pieter, thanks, answer amended accordingly. Commented Jan 11 at 14:25
  • I upvoted as I guess this is probably the answer, but after reading this I found two sites: blockchair and bitinfochart which do seem to list balance per address and time since last transaction. Would that not help? Commented Jan 11 at 23:29
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After looking around I found the following which seems to be pretty much what I was curious about. It shows dormant addresses which appear not to be completely unmoving but instead they have not sent anything out.

If I read it correctly this chart shows that approximately 14 million bitcoins is currently in dormant addresses, meaning that about 30% of mined coins is in an address that is seeing some (sending) action. Dormant addresses curve

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