At the current rate, we can expect the 18 millionth Bitcoin to be mined. This will leave only 3 million more to mine. With the Bitcoin halving approaching quickly, it’s perhaps time to appreciate one of the most predominant qualities of Bitcoin, namely, its digital scarcity.
18 Millionth Bitcoin Mined
Bitcoin’s history begins a little over 10 years ago. For that short period of time, it’s close to reaching more than 85% of its total supply. Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of the protocol, has hardwired it so that no more than 21 million bitcoins to ever be “created.” Of course, this could be changed if the majority of the network participants representing 51% of the hashrate, unanimously decide to do so. Looking at its rather distributed nature, however, at this time the odds of this are slim at best.
After today, only 3,000,000 bitcoins will be left mine. However, because of the regular halving events and the increasing difficulty, it’s estimated that this will take quite some time and that Bitcoin’s entire supply will be mined in the distant 2140.
What Does This Mean For Bitcoin?
The closest event which is directly related to mining is the 2020 Bitcoin halving. At the current hashrate, it should take place in May next year. This will slash the rewards that miners get for adding new blocks to the network in half.
Basically, instead of the 12.5BTC block rewards that miners get, they will begin receiving 6.25BTC. This will reduce the overall supply of Bitcoin on the market in half. Currently, 1,800 bitcoins are mined every single day and this number will drop down to 900. In addition, this will also cause a reduction in Bitcoin’s inflation rate from the current 3.72% to 1.8%.
Naturally, as the supply of freshly minted bitcoins on the market is reduced, if the demand for them remains the same or increases, its price should increase. This is something that a lot of industry proponents are looking forward to and, historically, it has always happened.
Bitcoin’s Digital Scarcity
One of the things that make Bitcoin stand up among other digital products is its scarcity. It has a finite supply that is predetermined and everyone’s aware of it, unlike gold. While gold is also scarce, the remaining amount that we can mine is based on estimates and research. With Bitcoin, we know how many will ever be in circulation – 21 million.
There is a lot that stems from this fact. First and foremost, no one but the network participants themselves has the capability to “print” new bitcoins in order to control inflation. Bitcoin’s inflation rate is also pre-determined and it’s reduced only as the supply goes down – after the halving events.
Another thing that should be considered, and perhaps what people are interested in the most, is the implication that scarcity has on value. The scarcer an object in demand is, the more valuable it becomes. Imagine that there were only 100 tons of gold on the earth and gold still served the purposes it does today. Its price would certainly have been different.
In any case, to commemorate this event and to unite the community under the same umbrella, popular Bitcoin proponent, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has started a hashtag on Twitter: #3MillionLeft and it already has hundreds of people using it.