If you’re not new in the world of cryptocurrency, then you probably know that the different cryptocurrencies have a limited supply. In the case of Bitcoin, it is capped at 21 million coins. That sounds a lot, but not if you consider that 17 million coins have already been mined. This leaves only 4 million coins to be mined, something that strikes fear in the hearts of many investors. But should you really worry about Bitcoin ever “running out”?
Bitcoin is, by far, the most successful cryptocurrency. It also has the first-mover’s advantage, which explains why so many people tell beginners to invest in Bitcoin first before looking into altcoins. On April 27, 2018, it was officially announced that 17 million Bitcoins had been mined. This is an amazing feat that proves that Bitcoin really does create a digital scarcity as explained in the white paper. The limited supply of Bitcoin is meant to address the many problems associated with money governed by a centralized institution.
By design, Bitcoin is distributed to the economy at set intervals. The miners refer to people who use their hardware to carry out harsh calculations and get rewarded for monitoring and processing Bitcoin transactions. They are the reason why new entries are added to the public ledger. In a sense, we all have miners to thank for the many wonders cryptocurrencies have brought to the table.
While investors continue to use cryptocurrency trading software such as Bitcoin Loophole to show support for their chosen crypto projects, many can’t help but worry about what the limited supply of Bitcoin would bring in the future. If you take a closer look, however, you’ll learn that the last Bitcoin wouldn’t even be mined in this century. Of course, this assumes that nothing changes in the original code.
The founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, mined the first Bitcoin block back in January 2009. As a reward, he got 50 Bitcoins. The miners enjoyed this same reward for the succeeding 209,999 blocks. After this, however, the first ever “halvening” occurred, which meant the rewards were cut in half.
This isn’t something implemented randomly by Satoshi or any of the Bitcoin developers. It was a hard-coded schedule designed to reduce rewards by half every 210,000 Bitcoin blocks. The last halvening happened in July 2016, putting the current reward for mining at 12.5 Bitcoins. Some simple math will show you that the remaining 4 million Bitcoins would take a much longer time to mine than the first 17 million coins.
If Bitcoin’s protocol will remain unchanged, you can expect the last Bitcoin to be mined in 2140. Now, that’s far too long into the future to think about. For now, rest assured that Bitcoins will be mined and remain in circulation for years to come. And even if there are no Bitcoins left to mine, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end. Mining can continue, although the rewards would come in the form of fees instead of Bitcoins.
Jim Bevin is a passionate writer, guest blogger, and a social media enthusiast. The primary focus is writing high-quality articles after in-depth research and make sure it is a readers delight. Information is key and he abides by the rule of writing articles that will appeal to a broader audience.