On Sunday, December 19, a dormant address that received 235 bitcoin in 2013 was activated after more than nine years of sitting idle. Bitcoin’s price has dropped lower after reaching its all-time high on November 10, and throughout December, records show a great number of so-called ‘sleeping bitcoins’ have activated during this period.
Dormant Addresses Wake up After Years of Slumber
The day that bitcoin (BTC) tapped an all-time price high at $69K per unit on November 10, a miner from 2010 spent 1,000 sleeping bitcoins and 1,000 bitcoin cash (BCH) as well. The 1,000 bitcoins stemmed from 20 block rewards mined well over a decade ago in 2010. This same entity spent another 1,000 BTC and 1,000 BCH the following day. Additionally, a single block from 2010, worth 50 BTC or $2.3 million was spent on November 3.
Sleeping bitcoins are addresses that hold BTC, but the coins have not moved in many years. In November 2021, about 2,000 BTC from 2010 was transferred by a mystery whale. The same mystery whale has spent tens of thousands of ‘sleeping bitcoin’ since mid-March 2020.
During the month of November, a total of 11 block rewards that were ten years old and mined in 2011, were activated and sent to new BTC addresses. That’s a total of 550 BTC worth $25.8 million using today’s bitcoin exchange rates. So far, for the month of December 2021, a total of four 2011 block rewards with 200 BTC worth $9.3 million was activated. There haven’t been any 2010 block rewards spent but seven blocks from 2012 were activated, 14 blocks from 2013, and five blocks from 2014.
Today, a dormant address from 2013 that originally had 235 bitcoin activated for the first time in 9.1 years by spending 100 BTC. *The address still has 135.80 BTC and Blockchair’s privacy-o-meter explains the transaction was sent with 0 privacy score and had “critical” privacy concerns. One transaction vulnerability seen in the transaction was “matched addresses identified.” On Thursday, December 16, a dormant address containing 225 bitcoin was activated after 8.4 years. The address spent approximately 25 BTC worth $1.1 million and still holds 200 BTC. Both of these whale addresses did not spend the corresponding bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoinsv (BSV).
‘Waking up’ Doesn’t Necessarily Mean ‘Sold’
On November 22, a dormant address that had 187 bitcoin sitting ide for eight years, moved 13 BTC and kept 174.43 BTC sitting idle in the wallet. The wallet’s corresponding BCH and BSV still hold 187 coins each and were not spent. Two days prior, another wallet with sleeping bitcoins that sat for 8.1 years was activated on November 20. The whale address spent a whopping 1,299.98 BTC that day worth $61 million today but it did not spend the 1,299 BCH and BSV.
Two more idle addresses with old bitcoins were activated during the month of November on the 10th and 11th. On November 11, an address with 234 BTC was activated after 7.5 years and unloaded 53.16 BTC that day. The day before, when BTC tapped $69K per unit and the mystery whale spent 1,000 BTC from 2010, a dormant address from 2013 or 8.1 years ago was activated. The address moved 2,207.60 BTC or $103.7 million worth of bitcoin using today’s exchange rates.
Whatever the case may be, the owners of very old bitcoin wallets decided to transfer their coins for the first time in many years. It’s worth noting that the terms “spent” or “spend” in this article, do not necessarily mean that the bitcoins were “sold” to a third party for fiat or another crypto asset.
The so-called ‘sleeping bitcoins’ could have been sold or could have been merely transferred to different wallets. Lots of these wallets see coins move from legacy bitcoin addresses to addresses that support Segregated Witness (Segwit) addresses (Bech32). Although, most of the popular crypto exchanges worldwide support Bech32 addresses and many of these coins very well could have been sold for fiat.