Bitcoins being digital-assets exist virtually on a public ledger, better known as the blockchain. And, every blockchain thrives on rules or protocols which all users follow whenever they update any records.
Every blockchain has several metrics, and the protocols guide those agreed unanimously by the developers. Other metrics are relative and keep fluctuating concerning market variables.
This post will be constructive towards helping you refresh your knowledge regarding the critical questions with how many bitcoins there are.
As of now, the figures keep changing every other minute. So, how many bitcoins are there in circulation? Looks like a ridiculous question, but surely you asked yourself this before. Read on to grasp the critical notes around the entire scenario.
How many Bitcoins are there in circulation as of 2020?
According to Statista.com, records closing in quarter 2 of the year 2020 show a total of 18.52 Million in circulation. Therefore, with mining capping at 21 million, how many bitcoins are left? Only 2.48 million to mine.
Bitcoins in circulation is a relative figure. Why?
Of the entire total of Bitcoins in circulation, part of it is lost, since owners have lost its public keys. A portion of it goes away through theft.
Why do These Limits Exist?
Blockchains have upper limits beyond which mining halts. For Bitcoin, the limit is 21 Million coins. Those limits exist to give legitimacy to a digital asset. And the legitimacy arises by creating scarcity- where ordinary money is ever scarce in supply.
The opposite scenario would create oversupply situations, meaning Bitcoin would practically be worthless since everybody can mine it.
Where do we currently stand with Bitcoin mining?
The total Bitcoin mined as of Month 3 of Quarter 3 of 2020 stands at 88.1%. Inference from data collection and analysis by the University of Cambridge credits 65% of bitcoin hashing or mining power to China. Therefore, China alone contributes to 585 Bitcoins mining out of a total of 900 bitcoins daily.
How many Bitcoin blocks are there today?
Data from blockchain.com indicates the total tally of blocks of the Bitcoin blockchain standing at 649,955. The figure increases on a day to day basis as more Bitcoin mining completes. The site captures other details like the hash codes, miner names, and the block’s size in bytes.
How many Bitcoin users are there?
According to claims by Bitcoinmarketjournal, there are an estimated 7.2 Million Bitcoin users. And closing December 2019, the total number of wallets estimated was 42 Million.
There are multiple occurrences that any single user can hold several wallets at a go. While it’s also hard to estimate the average amount each may have/own.
How many Bitcoins have been lost?
Bitcoins get lost for specific reasons. Chainalysis gives an estimated 3.79 Million of BTC as lost. The entire effect with that is, of the 21 Million mineable bitcoins, the whole total available after 2040 (when mining of all Bitcoins will end) will be significantly lower.
Loss of Bitcoin arises for many reasons, like the fact that public keys are non-transferable.
What are the Worst Bitcoin Losses Ever?
- First is Mt Gox with the 2014 incident – hackers took off with $500 million – which is estimated to be $5 Billion as of date.
- Second is James Howells, with a lost hard drive with 7,500 Bitcoins worth. The drive was disposed into a landfill somewhere in Wales.
- Chris Larsen (the founder of Ripple cryptocurrency) lost an estimate whopping $44 Million.
- Winklevoss Twins – won a case but failed to cash out on $1.62 Billion possibilities.
- Derek Rose, an Australian Journalist whose $7 Million was lost due to poor leveraging.
Kolin Burges, cryptocurrency trader, in a protest in Tokyo in 2014 after the collapse of Mt Gox. Credits: Reuters/Toru Hanai
How many bitcoins are mined per day?
Past May 2020, Bitcoin halving reduces bitcoin mining per day from 1800 to 900 bitcoins. And towards 2040, the difficulty keeps increasing.
The harder the mining, the lesser lucrative mining of bitcoin gets. You can keep tabs with bitcoin mining in block/ledger history by looking up the tables at blockchain.com.
How many Bitcoin can be mined?
According to the Bitcoin blockchain protocol released in 2009, mining the upper limit is 21 Million bitcoins. There’s ranging debate around this, bearing in mind that, by consensus, miners can unanimously agree to increase the capping.
What happens when all Bitcoins are mined?
Bitcoin miners earn rewards when it’s over; their income will be limited to transaction fees. Skeptics cite that lack of rewards may phase out miners and lead to the collapse of the entire system. On the other hand, enthusiasts view that Bitcoin’s widespread use for transacting may increase fees per transaction to maintain the miners.
How Many Bitcoins Have Been Stolen?
As early as last year, Bitcoin still gets lost with huge portions going away from the exchange. To date, cryptotips cites that more than 4 Million Bitcoins lost and in irrecoverable states. Theft of bitcoin has been a huge topic around. Unlike the values in banks and under regulators’ control, losers have no substantial recourse whenever bitcoin disappears into thin air.
How many bitcoin billionaires are there?
Forbes documents around only 3 Bitcoin Billionaires. From the list of billionaires on Forbes in 2020, Micree Zhan, the founder of Bitmain tops the list, as the 690 wealthiest person in the world with a fortune of $3.2 billion. Its co-founder Jihan Wu also comes up on the list. Bitmain is a company focused on Bitcoin mining.
Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu at the back, are currently in a legal battle.
Finally, the owner of Coinbase, one of the most famous cryptocurrency trading business, also is included in the list. Brian Armstrong has a net worth of $1 billion.
Important to mention that the founder of one of Bitcoin competitors, Ripple, Chris Larsen, also is included in the ranking, with a total worth of $2.6 billion. Despite that, Ripple still ranks third on the list of most used cryptocurrencies, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.
On an honorary note, Bitcoin ‘ghost’ founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, does not makes it into the list of Bitcoin billionaires.
Initial investors hit luck after locking good portions when bitcoin was selling at low prices. Therefore, their value towards being billionaires arises from appreciating the value of bitcoin with time.
Bitcoin metrics conform to those of other financial assets. They keep fluctuating with time alongside significant variables like supply and demand. With bitcoin, it is the whole equation of mining difficulty as the percentages inch towards 100%.
As much as clarity exists regarding how many bitcoins are left for coins miners to work on, other relative metrics keep emerging:
- Can bitcoins blockchain allow miners to alter protocols to increase the number of bitcoin mining above 21 Million?
- What would happen in case a successful hard-fork takes effect to increase the mining cap?
- Quite a significant portion of Bitcoins is lost or stolen. Can it ever be recovered?
The reality is bitcoins will keep increasing and so will the total mining capability. Ideally, the metrics keep changing day by day and you should maintain yourself updated to know about the flutuation of the currency.
Most metrics come up from studies based on estimations without any party holding primary and credible details. Remember, there’s no holder of single-source data regarding bitcoin.
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