Bitcoin is anonymous, but transparent, so you can see the balances associated with individual addresses in the system. Jon Matonis points us to the top ten balances, which are pretty astounding. He writes:
But why leave your wealth in a distributed proof-of-work system instead of a traditional bank? In a broad sense, bitcoin wealth offers protection from unpredictable political risk such as sovereign confiscation, excessive taxation, and capital controls at the border. In addition to preservation of value when compared to national fiat currencies, bitcoin wealth eliminates bank solvency risk and the risk of exogenous shocks to the uber-leveraged financial pyramid. Remember, a pyramid was not a monument but a tomb.
I’m not sure I buy this completely. Bitcoin at this point is not risk free, to say the least, and I can think of much better hedges against the collapse of fiat currencies. It would be fascinating to discover who these folks are.