How Many Bitcoins are Left? (Updated 2020)
in Bitcoin (BTC)
One of the core features of the Bitcoin currency is its limited supply. The importance of a limited supply has never been more apparent than now, as central banks around the world ramp up their money printing to unprecedented levels.
Gold is valuable because no matter how high the price only a small amount can be mined every year. Bitcoin takes this scarcity to the next level! No matter what price Bitcoin is selling for, only a predetermined number of BTC will ever exist. This makes Bitcoin the hardest currency in the world.
But how many Bitcoins are left? Let’s take a look.
How Many Bitcoins are There Total?
In total there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin. This means that Bitcoin’s scarcity is even greater than gold. Although gold is difficult to mine, there is a near “infinite” supply as new mines are always being prospected.
Although Bitcoin has a supply of 21 million, that doesn’t mean that all 21 million of those coins are available to purchase.
How Many Bitcoins are There Today?
The current supply of Bitcoin, is over 18 million. There are a couple of ways to follow Bitcoin’s circulating supply. Messari has a great Bitcoin tracker which displays all sorts of interesting metrics, including current supply. Blockchain.com displays the same data in graph form.
If you want to use an App to track the current circulating supply of Bitcoin you can use the Yahoo Finance app. They have a Bitcoin section which displays the current circulating supply.
How Many Bitcoins are Left to Mine?
There are 2.6 million Bitcoin left to be mined. Surprisingly, even though 18.4 million Bitcoin were mined in just over 10 years, it will take another 120 years to mine the remaining 2.6 million.
That’s because of the Bitcoin halving. Every four years the number of Bitcoins produced per block (a new block is created every 10 minutes) are cut in half. Currently the mining reward is 6.25 Bitcoin per block. In 2024 it will drop to 3.125 BTC per block.
If you want to follow the countdown to the next Bitcoin halving, you can check Bitcoin Block Half.
How Many Bitcoins are Lost?
The short answer: we don’t know for sure. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a wallet containing “lost” Bitcoin and a wallet containing Bitcoin belonging to a long term holder. A recent example proves this point well.
On May 20th, 40 BTC were moved from an address that hadn’t been active since 2009. Previously those coins might have been assumed to be lost. As it turns out though, someone had access to them the whole time. This person had decided to hold their BTC for nearly a decade without moving any.
While it is difficult to determine how many coins are lost, there is one thing that many people are near-sure of: Satoshi’s coins (Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin) are “lost.” Satoshi mined about 1 million BTC and none of these coins have moved in the last decade. Though who knows what could happen given the example cited above.
In terms of small losses, there are stories of people throwing out hard drives with thousands of Bitcoin on them. These coins are lost for good, however, it’s difficult to estimate the number of these lost coins, as not every story makes the newspapers.
How Many Bitcoins are Available?
In theory, the total number of Bitcoins available would be simple to calculate. We would take the total current supply of 18.4 million, subtract the number of lost coins (for argument’s sake we’ll say 1.4 million) and arrive at a total of 17 million Bitcoin available.
However, this number doesn’t really tell the whole story. The number of Bitcoin available also depends on the number of sellers versus buyers. During a bear market, investors sell Bitcoin en masse and more coins are available for purchase.
During a bull market, investors buy and hold Bitcoin which reduces the available supply. If demand remains high, then prices will increase.
Recently, there have been stories that the number of Bitcoin available is decreasing. We’re witnessing more and more addresses holding onto their Bitcoin for a year or more, which could indicate the start of a new bull market.
What Happens when All Bitcoins are Mined?
When all of the Bitcoin are mined, that’s it! There won’t be any more new BTC added to the existing supply.
The largest concern about all of the Bitcoin being mined is that there will be no security budget. Assuming a price of $10,000 per BTC, the Bitcoin network pays out $3.3 billion worth of BTC per year to miners to secure the network.
Once we reach the point where no more Bitcoin are being mined, how will the network incentivize miners to keep securing it? The obvious answer is transaction fees, but will they be lucrative enough to ensure miners keep mining?
While it’s good to think about this eventuality, the truth is that this event is more than 100 years away. For those wondering when will all Bitcoins be mined? The answer is approximately 2140, although it could be a bit earlier or later, depending on how block times change.
While the potential pitfall of no mining budget is a problem that must eventually be addressed, for now the network is secure. Bitcoin remains valuable and becomes even more valuable with each halving.
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Information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Investing in crypto assets is speculative and carries a high degree of risk; you may lose some or all of the money that is invested. Past performance is not indicative of future results.