It all started back in 2009 when Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to Bitcoin. Today, after over a decade, Bitcoin is touted as a potential currency that will replace the traditional fiat currency.
Carl Runefelt is a global crypto leader who has invested in more than 360 crypto startups. He is a staunch proponent of Bitcoin and firmly believes that it will eventually replace fiat currency.
While talking on his YouTube channel, The Moon, he said, “Bitcoin is genuinely game-changing, and it represents a massive transformation for the global economy and, indeed, the whole globe. It represents a paradigm change. If you’re really feeling worried, get your money into Bitcoin because Bitcoin is the safest asset out there.”
But Bitcoin has a hard cap on its number. We can only mine 21 million of its maximum. That doesn’t mean that all cryptocurrencies have some sort of cap; Ethereum and Dogecoin, for instance, don’t have a hard cap on them.
But don’t fret. It will take epochs to mine all 21 million Bitcoins – and we haven’t really started yet!
How Many Can You Mine?
As discussed earlier, there are only 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined each of which can be divided into 1,000 millibitcoins (mBTC), 1,000,000 microbitcoins (μBTC), or 100,000,000 Satoshis. This makes it even better than gold or other forms of commodities.
Gold has a mother lode of abundance on earth – we are still mining it – and there seems to be no end in sight, apparently.
The limit on the number of Bitcoin is what makes it worth the salt. Experts estimate that 18 million Bitcoins are already in circulation globally. You can track Bitcoin through the Bitcoin tracker on Messari.
Carl Runefelt, while comparing gold with cryptocurrencies, says, “Gold is much better than fiat, but even then, Bitcoin has a huge advantage. This is because gold has a supply that is increasing very slowly, but it is increasing. Bitcoin is finite, so there is a small advantage there. You can transfer Bitcoin with a click of a button. But if I have to send a million dollars to gold to another country, it’ll cost me maybe more than the gold itself – the bigger the number, the harder to send.”
How Many Are Currently Available?
Let’s talk about the number that is already in supply now and what is still waiting to be mined.
Estimates tell us that around 18.7 million Bitcoins are in circulating while 2.3 million are yet to be mined – that is simple maths!
Are you wondering how many Bitcoins are mined every single day?
Well, statistics tell us that as of the first half of 2022, approximately 900 bitcoins were mined each day globally.
Let’s discuss this process.
Estimates tell that miners can verify a block of bitcoin transactions after every 10 minutes. Once they do that, the reward is 6.25 bitcoins. This means that every day 900 bitcoins are supplied into the market every day.
But here’s something that doesn’t go well with miners: after every 4 years, the reward for verifying a block of a transaction is halved. Once we will mine all the Bitcoins, we will still receive mining fees as an incentive to keep our equipment up and running.
What About the Lost Bitcoins?
As the limit of Bitcoin is 21 million, there are around 4 million Bitcoins that are lost. How are they lost?
A Bitcoin is deemed to be lost if the owner lost their private key or storage wallet. You would need a private key to make Bitcoin transfers. If it’s lost, there is nothing you can do; you have essentially lost your Bitcoin.
Most of the Bitcoin was lost in the start because owners were not careful as it wasn’t worth much. But today it is worth millions of dollars.
On top of this, there are then Bitcoin that are stolen. For instance, In 2014, the Tokyo crypto exchange, Mt. Gox was hacked, during which 850,000 bitcoins were stolen. These stolen Bitcoins are not in circulation because they are not traded back and forth.
Some investors bought a significant number of Bitcoins early on. These Bitcoins are now worth billions of dollars. These investors can now influence the crypto market with their crypto activities, hence called “whales.”
To put it in perspective, about 1,600 entities currently own about 5 million of the available bitcoins, approximately 28% of the total supply. Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, has held 1 million bitcoins alone since Bitcoin’s inception.