8

Given the difficult of detecting lost coins, or telling between hoarded and lost coins, it seems impossible to actually report on the real wealth distribution of the bitcoin currency.

5

The protocol gives no information about who controls an address. In an extreme case, every address could be controlled by just one person, or every address could have a unique owner. However, a degree of traffic analysis is possible, and if you have access to other data from outside the Bitcoin network, you could correlate transactions with these non-Bitcoin events and infer who the real-world owners of the addresses are.

For example, if you had access to ISP records of who uses an IP address that has just mined a block, you could start to build profiles of the owners of new coins.

But there are many barriers to achieving the total information awareness that you would need to build a comprehensive profile of all coin owners, so the short answer is no, there is no reliable way to measure Bitcoin wealth distribution.

3

Well, we know at least how much Mt. Gox holds -- as they have a cold storage system that they've proven they control.

Also, flow analysis combined with other data might help make it possible to have a better idea. It alone doesn't give exact identity, but it can help to point in a general direction as far as how much certain people or certain organizations have received and of that amount, how much they've spent.

Here's an article describing this:

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