Just a hypothesis: at a certain instance(so no inflation or deflation concerns), within a single economic entity, if one owns half of the money, does it mean he also owns half of the total wealth?

I ask this question because I've read an article that the bitcoin creator Satoshi owns fairly a large portion of total bitcoins mineable so if bitcoin gets accepted worldwide he might be the richest person on earth.

editting: I feel like there is something technically complicated going on here, for example, if this hypothetical man starts buying things using 50% total money in the society he owns, he actually creates inflation so gradually his buying power decreases. But what if he buys stuff really quick, so quick that the market can't adjust prices accordingly, how much goods can he buy?

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    What is "a single economic entity"? Owning, for instance, one half of all US currency in circulation would not mean you own half of all wealth in the US, since a large amount of wealth is in non-currency forms (e.g., stocks or real estate).
    – BrenBarn
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:25
  • By "single economic entity" I mean such entity is isolated and self-sustained, no goods or currency trading with other entities, just to simplify my question.
    – mzoz
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:48
  • I changed my question to swap "currency" with "money", just to clarify that this hypothetical man owns not only paper money in circulation but also "virtual" money like bank account credit balance, etc.
    – mzoz
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:54
  • As long as there is any amount of "wealth" in the economy that isn't "money", this can never be true. But anyway, this is about economics and not personal finance; I suggest you take it to Economics.SE (be sure to read their on-topic guidelines before posting). Sep 3, 2017 at 14:54
  • @SouthParker: In the sense you describe it is doubtful that any "single economic entity" exists in the world. And if there are any (North Sentinel Island, perhaps?) they likely don't have money. Even bitcoin involves trade because people exchange bitcoin for goods, services, or other currency. In fact, if you can't ultimately exchange currency for goods and services, it has no value, so I don't see how your question really makes sense.
    – BrenBarn
    Sep 3, 2017 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Money and wealth are two different things. Money is an item that can be used as a store of wealth and as a convenient medium of exchange, but it's not the same thing as wealth. If you have a lot of money, then you have a lot of wealth. But you can have a lot of wealth (in the form of, for example, real estate, company ownership, financial assets and loans, and physical capital) and not have a lot of money.

There is a very, very large amount of money in the world, so bitcoin would have to appreciate in an extreme way in order to replace the other forms of money. In that case someone owning a lot of bitcoin will be pretty rich. But having half the world's money is a much smaller thing than having half the world's wealth.

Your inflation question isn't real clear to me. Because bitcoin is not kept in banks and lent out, a bitcoin user in your proposed world creates inflation when they spend their bitcoins, increasing demand for goods and services. This increased demand drives up the price of those goods and services. Prices react pretty quickly, so it seems like the effect of an increase in the effective money supply (the bitcoins actually being used, rather than hoarded) would have a similar effect when spent quickly as slowly. Think of it this way: if you are buying 1,000,000,000 toasters the first few thousand could be had cheaply at Walmart and Amazon. Then you would have to go to more and more expensive sources to get them. Eventually you would run out of sources and have to have them special made at yet higher expense. It's not the time that raised the prices but the actual purchasing behavior. Same thing is true of houses, yachts, islands, or whatever else a very rich hypothetical person might buy.

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