Only 20% of all bitcoin remain undiscovered
There is a supply cap of 21 million bitcoins. This rarity helps boost demand and can increase an asset’s value.
Around 80% of all bitcoin supply has been mined, with 4.2 million coins remaining until the total is exhausted.
Of the 21 million bitcoins that will ever be available for trade, more than 16.8 million (80%) have already been mined, according to international software platform Blockchain.info’s bitcoins in circulation chart.
The data reveals that at this time last year 16.1 million (77%) bitcoins had been mined. Two years ago, this figure was just over 15 million (72%). This means about 8% of new bitcoins were mined in the past two years.
The supply cap was a key component of bitcoin’s propriety, developed by Satoshi Nakamoto and outlined in the company’s 2008 White Paper. It was established as a means of bringing rarity to the cryptocurrency.
“The steady addition of a constant of amount of new coins is analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation. In our case, it is CPU time and electricity that is expended,” Nakamoto said in the paper.
“The proof-of-work difficulty is determined by a moving average targeting an average number of blocks per hour. If they’re generated too fast, the difficulty increases,” Nakamoto said.
Proof of work is data that’s generally costly and time-consuming to produce but relatively simple to verify. For a bitcoin block to be accepted by network participants, miners must cover all data in the block in their proofs.
The scarcity created by this process and the supply cap helps boost demand and can increase the asset’s value.
The current bitcoin mining block reward is valued at 12.5 bitcoins per block. This reward is to be halved every 210,000 blocks, according to Nakamoto’s White Paper. The next miner halving is expected to occur in two years.
While bitcoin is a digital currency that must be mined to unearth supply, others, such as Ripple, release their entire supply immediately. Some coins might be held by the creators while others are circulated for trade.
While a number of countries and central banks are considering the implications of creating and issuing official cryptocurrencies, the United States Federal Reserve is “unlikely” to introduce its own digital currency.
The US Marshals Service announced it will sell nearly 4,000 seized bitcoins at an auction held later this month.