A milestone for the world‘s most prominent cryptocurrency has been reached as the 17 millionth BTC was mined today. This means that more than 80% of the Bitcoins that will ever exist, have already been created. That is because Satoshi Nakamoto, the famous Bitcoin founder, shrouded in mystery, has set the supply cap to 21m in the original design of the digital currency.
1800 BTC are generated daily and as you probably know, Bitcoin mining involves using energy-intensive technology that solves complex mathematical equations, for which the miners are rewarded with cryptocurrency. Notably, the reward is halved over time, which means the BTC creation process is gradually slowing down. The most recent halving happened in July 2016 and since then miners receive a 12.5 BTC reward for every block they generate.
The rewards are halved once every 210,000 blocks are mined and the next halving will take place on May 29th, 2020. This means that afterwards mining each Bitcoin block will grant a reward of 6.25 BTC. Assuming the original protocol remains untouched, none of us will live to see the day the last BTC is mined – that is scheduled to happen some 122 years further down the road, in 2140.
The first Bitcoins were mined by Satoshi Nakamoto himself back in January 2009. Data shows that it took around 200 days to reach the first million coins but the journey from 16 to 17 million took over 500 days, as the last equal milestone was reached in November 2016.
The fact that Bitcoin supply is finite, which separates it from most other cryptocurrencies, say Ethereum, leads to a Bitcoin and gold comparison. Interestingly, Satoshi Nakamoto has compared the two in the original Bitcoin whitepaper. Having a limited supply in mind, we can expect increasing demand from institutional investors with significant resources, which should result in the price of BTC spiraling upwards.
Another curious feature of BTC is the fact that a huge amount of coins is not even in circulation. According to a widely accepted analysis, an estimated 980,000 coins or almost 5% of the total supply (which is finite, remember?) belong to the creator of Bitcoin, Mr. Nakamoto. It seems that the anonymous founder might become a regular on Forbes 100 list, with many expecting a surge of BTC price in the coming years.
Tim Draper, a venture capitalist and an outspoken supporter of Bitcoin, who recently predicted it will be worth staggering $250,000 within 4 years said that “I would bet the founders wouldn’t have imagined how important bitcoin would become in their wildest dreams.“
Image Source: “Flickr”