How Many Bitcoins Are There in Total?
Ever wonder how many bitcoins there are in total and how many can still be mined? Find answers to Bitcoin numbers in this article.
- Currently, there are around 19.5 million bitcoins in circulation out of a capped supply of 21 million.
- The capped supply is designed to create scarcity, similar to precious metals, and to control inflation by limiting the creation of new bitcoins.
- The last bitcoin of the remaining one to two million is expected to be mined around 2140.
- The number of lost bitcoins is unknown, but likely in the millions.
How Many Bitcoins Are There?
There are 21 million bitcoins in total, but not all of them have been mined. In other words, not all 21 million bitcoins — also known as the total supply — have been created yet. At the time of writing, there were around 19.5 million bitcoins in circulation — this is called the circulating supply.
This cap on total supply is a fundamental feature of the Bitcoin protocol designed to create scarcity and prevent inflation.
- Scarcity: By limiting the total supply of bitcoins to 21 million, it creates scarcity, which some compare to the scarcity of precious metals like gold. Scarcity is a key factor that can contribute to the store-of-value properties of an asset. The idea that some proponents of Bitcoin put forward is that, as Bitcoin becomes scarcer due to halving events (which reduce the rate of new bitcoin issuance), it may become more valuable over time, assuming demand continues to grow.
- Inflation Control: Traditional fiat currencies, like the US dollar, can be subject to inflation, as central banks can print more money, potentially leading to a decrease in purchasing power. Bitcoin’s capped supply ensures there will only ever be a maximum of 21 million bitcoins in existence. This predictability and limited supply are intended to hedge against inflation and currency devaluation.
How Are New Bitcoins Created?
The process of issuing new bitcoins is called ‘mining’. Miners solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and add them to the blockchain. In return for their efforts, they receive newly created bitcoins as a block reward. However, this reward is halved approximately every four years in an event known as ‘halving’.
The halving events will continue until the maximum supply of 21 million bitcoins is reached, which is estimated to occur around the year 2140. After that point, no new bitcoins will be created, and miners will rely solely on transaction fees for their rewards.
How Many Bitcoins Are Currently in Circulation?
At the time of writing, there were around 19.5 million bitcoins in circulation.
To find the current number of bitcoins in circulation, check a reputable cryptocurrency tracking website, such as CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko.
How Many Bitcoins Are Left to Be Mined?
There are approximately 1.5 million bitcoins left to be mined (at the time of writing) out of the total capped supply of 21 million.
The last bitcoin is expected to be mined around the year 2140. This estimate is based on the Bitcoin protocol’s design, which includes a controlled issuance schedule.
Here’s a timeline for the remaining bitcoins:
- Bitcoin started with a block reward of 50 bitcoins per block when it was first mined in 2009. In other words, 50 bitcoins were issued per block.
- Approximately every four years (or after every 210,000 blocks), the block reward is halved. The first halving occurred in 2012, reducing the reward to 25 bitcoins per block.
- The second halving occurred in 2016, reducing the reward to 12.5 bitcoins per block.
- The third halving occurred in 2020, reducing the reward to 6.25 bitcoins per block.
- The next halving is expected to occur in 2024.
- Halving events will continue until the maximum supply of 21 million bitcoins is reached.
Based on this halving schedule, miners will continue to receive smaller and smaller block rewards until the reward reaches zero, expected to be around the year 2140. At that point, no new bitcoins will be created through mining, and miners will be compensated solely with transaction fees for securing the network.
How Many Bitcoins Have Been Lost?
It’s difficult to determine an exact number for the amount of bitcoins that have been lost because Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous; there is no central authority tracking ownership or lost coins.
However, it’s well known that some bitcoins have been lost over the years due to various reasons, including:
- Lost Private Keys: Many early Bitcoin adopters may have lost access to their bitcoins because they lost their private keys or the hardware upon which the keys were stored.
- Unrecoverable Wallets: Some may have lost bitcoins by sending them to wallets they no longer have access to or with known vulnerabilities.
- Forgotten Wallets: Bitcoin wallets were not as user-friendly in the early days, and some individuals may have forgotten about wallets they created or the bitcoins they stored in them.
- Deceased Owners: In some cases, Bitcoin owners have passed away without sharing their private keys or recovery information, resulting in those bitcoins becoming inaccessible.
- Burnt Coins: Some bitcoins have been intentionally ‘burnt’ by sending them to addresses with no known private key, making them permanently unspendable.
While it’s challenging to quantify the exact number of lost bitcoins, various estimates suggest that a significant portion of the total supply may never be recovered or used again. These lost coins contribute to the overall scarcity of Bitcoin, as they are effectively removed from circulation, potentially impacting supply-and-demand dynamics.
With a capped total supply of 21 million bitcoins and a controlled issuance schedule defined by halving events, Bitcoin distinguishes itself from traditional fiat currencies. This scarcity not only underpins the value proposition of Bitcoin, it also provides it with a potential hedge against inflation.
Due Diligence and Do Your Own Research
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Frequently Asked Questions
Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not backed by a physical commodity or government, and their value is determined by market demand and supply. Cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services, transfer funds, and trade in markets. Popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Cronos.
Many cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are created through a process called mining, which involves solving complex mathematical equations to validate and record transactions on a blockchain. This mechanism is also called Proof of Work (PoW). Another consensus mechanism that has increased in popularity — as it is more energy efficient — is Proof of Stake (PoS). Instead of mining, PoS relies on network participants validating transactions. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, uses this consensus mechanism.
Unlike traditional fiat currency, which is controlled by central banks and governments, Bitcoin operates independently of any central authority. Transactions are verified and recorded on the blockchain, which is a distributed ledger that maintains a permanent and transparent record of all transactions.
Bitcoin can be bought, sold, and exchanged on various cryptocurrency exchanges, and it can be used to purchase goods and services from merchants that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. The supply of bitcoins is limited to 21 million units, and new bitcoins are created through mining, which involves using specialized computer hardware to solve complex mathematical equations.
Bitcoin is known for its high volatility, and its value can fluctuate rapidly in response to market conditions, news events, and other factors. Many traders, including institutional investors, see Bitcoin as a store of value and a way to participate in the growing cryptocurrency ecosystem.
- Brokerage services: Crypto brokers allow users to simply buy and sell cryptocurrencies. A popular example is the Crypto.com App, trusted by over 80 million users. It is available at the Apple Store and on Google Play.
- Cryptocurrency exchanges: These are online platforms where users can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies using fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies. They offer more complex functions compared to a crypto brokerage, adding trading instruments like crypto derivatives. The Crypto.com Exchange is an example of a popular crypto exchange.
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces: These are platforms where buyers and sellers can directly trade cryptocurrencies without the involvement of a third-party exchange. This is also known as DeFi, short for decentralized finance. Multiple P2P crypto marketplaces can be accessed all in one app via the Crypto.com DeFi Wallet.
- Choose a crypto platform to use, like the Crypto.com Exchange or Crypto.com App.
- Create an account on the chosen platform by providing personal information and ID verification, also known as ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) procedures.
- Deposit fiat currency or another cryptocurrency into the newly created account. The Crypto.com App supports bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and cryptocurrency transfers to buy crypto, depending on region.
- Navigate to the ‘Buy’ section of the Crypto.com Exchange or App and select the crypto to buy.
- Enter the amount of cryptocurrency to buy and confirm the transaction.
- The crypto will be deposited into the account. From here, it can be transferred to other crypto wallets or converted back to fiat currency and paid out to a bank account.
- Choose a reputable cryptocurrency platform that supports Bitcoin trading. Popular options include the Crypto.com App and the Crypto.com Exchange.
- Create an account on the chosen platform and complete the KYC verification process, which may require providing personal identification documents.
- Fund an account using a bank transfer, credit/debit card, or other cryptocurrency, depending on region.
- Navigate to the ‘Buy’ section of the platform and select Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency to buy.
- Enter the amount of bitcoin to buy, or the amount of fiat or cryptocurrency to spend.
- Review the transaction details and confirm the purchase.
- Once the transaction is complete, the bitcoin will be deposited into the chosen account. From here, the funds can be transferred to other crypto wallets or converted back to fiat currency and paid out to a bank account.
- Choose a cryptocurrency exchange that supports trading. A popular option is the Crypto.com Exchange.
- Create an account on the chosen platform and perform ID verification, known as KYC (‘Know Your Customer’).
- Deposit funds into the newly created account using a supported payment method. The Crypto.com Exchange supports bank transfers and credit/debit cards.
- Navigate to the trading section of the platform and select the cryptocurrency pair to trade.
- Choose whether to buy or sell the cryptocurrency, and enter the amount to trade.
- Set the preferred price and order type. There are several types of orders, including market orders, limit orders, stop orders, and crypto options, which allow users to buy or sell at a specific price or under certain conditions.
- Submit the trade order and wait for it to be executed. Depending on market conditions, the trade may be filled immediately, or it may take time to be filled.
- Monitor trades and adjust strategies as necessary.
It is crucial to note that trading cryptocurrency carries risk, and it is important to trade only what you can afford to lose.
- Mining: Cryptocurrency mining involves using specialized computer hardware to solve complex mathematical equations that validate transactions on a blockchain network. Successful miners are rewarded with newly minted cryptocurrency for their efforts.
- Staking/Lockups: Staking and lockups involve holding or locking up a certain amount of cryptocurrency in a wallet or on a platform to support the operations of the blockchain network. Stakers are rewarded with new cryptocurrency as a form of interest for their support.
- Trading: Trading cryptocurrency involves buying and selling cryptocurrencies on exchanges or other trading platforms. Those who have a good understanding of market trends and are able to make informed trading decisions can earn profits through trading.
- Airdrops: Airdrops are free distributions of cryptocurrency to users who meet certain criteria or participate in promotional activities.
- Crypto Projects: Some blockchain projects offer rewards or bounties for users who contribute to their development or community. This can include activities like bug bounties, testing, or content creation.
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