Bitcoin, introduced in 2009, has come a long way and greatly increased in value. Despite its many changes, one thing has remained constant: the limit set by its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, at 21 million minable bitcoins. Currently, about 19 million bitcoins have been mined, getting closer to this limit. In this guide, we’ll explore what happens when the last bitcoin is mined and why.
What will happen after all bitcoins are mined?
When the 21 million bitcoin limit is reached, no more bitcoins will be created through mining. To have a better understanding of this concept, let’s clarify what a bitcoin is and how it is generated.
Bitcoin: what are they and how are they generated?
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency or cryptocurrency. It serves as a medium of exchange and a store of value. Unlike physical money, it doesn’t exist in a tangible form, and no single country or entity controls it. Instead, it’s virtual money with a constantly changing value.
How are bitcoins created?
Bitcoins are generated through a process called mining, which is akin to extracting gold. The Bitcoin network is responsible for creating and distributing new bitcoins. Approximately every 10 minutes, a random amount of bitcoins is distributed to active network participants or those contributing their computing power to secure the network.
Mining involves solving complex puzzles, and the likelihood of receiving bitcoin rewards depends on the computing power contributed and the competition with other miners. Mining requires substantial resources, including electricity and computing power. Many miners join mining pools or groups to combine their resources and share the rewards based on their contributions. They receive a fixed number of bitcoins as a reward for their efforts, known as the Block Reward.
Currently, around 19 million bitcoins have already been mined out of a total of 21 million.
Bitcoin limit: where are we now?
To understand the current status of Bitcoin’s supply, let’s take a brief look back at its history of extraction. The initial surge occurred between 2009 and 2013, during the early years of Bitcoin. During this period, 10.5 million Bitcoins were issued, which represents over half of the total Bitcoins currently in circulation. This happened because the block reward was set at 50 BTC, and there were a total of 210,000 blocks with this reward. Subsequently, the reward was halved after the first Bitcoin halving event, resulting in the issuance of the next 210,000 blocks, equivalent to 5.25 million BTC.
If the issuance continues as expected, with the 34th halving event projected to occur in the year 2144, there will be approximately 20.999.999.9993 Bitcoins in existence, with block rewards reduced to zero BTC. This figure is very close to the 21 million BTC maximum limit.
How many bitcoins can be mined in one day?
Currently, there are approximately 19 million bitcoins in circulation, a number that constantly changes with the mining of new blocks. Each newly mined block adds 6.25 Bitcoins to the total in circulation. In 2023, it’s estimated that around 900 bitcoins are mined per day.
What happens when the bitcoin limit of 21 million is reached?
Bitcoin has a maximum limit of 21 million BTC that can ever be mined, based on the principle of limited supply. It’s projected, albeit with some uncertainty, that the last bitcoins will be mined around the year 2140.
When the total supply reaches this maximum limit, miners will no longer receive rewards for creating new blocks. Instead, they will solely rely on transaction fees as their incentive. In essence, by 2140, it’s expected that there will be no more newly created Bitcoins entering circulation, but the network will continue to function as usual.
What will miners do when the Bitcoin limit is reached?
Reaching this limit does not mean miners won’t be able to create new blocks. Rather, it signifies that miners won’t receive the traditional block rewards but will continue to earn income through the transaction fees included in each new block. Given that 2140 is still quite far off, miners have plenty of time to adapt to this change.
Bitcoin predictions for 2025 and 2030
According to market experts, the following Bitcoin predictions are on the horizon:
By the end of 2025: While Bitcoin currently enjoys a prominent status among cryptocurrencies, it may not maintain this indefinitely. By 2025, competitors may develop improved projects, potentially narrowing the value gap that currently exists.
By the end of 2030: Predicting the cryptocurrency landscape a decade ahead is challenging. However, it’s likely that cryptocurrencies will see more widespread use in everyday life by 2030.
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Who owns the most bitcoin in the world?
The identity of the individual or entity that owns the most Bitcoin in the world is not publicly known. Many early adopters of Bitcoin, including its creator Satoshi Nakamoto, are believed to hold significant amounts of Bitcoin, but their identities remain anonymous.
What happens if bitcoin fails?
If Bitcoin were to fail, here are some of the possible outcomes: loss of value for investors, loss of confidence, it could dramatically impact the other cryptocurrencies, and many more.
Why does bitcoin have to be mined?
There are several reasons for mining bitcoins: miners are responsible for verifying and adding new transactions to the blockchain, mining helps secure the Bitcoin network from potential attacks, and to add new bitcoins to circulation.