Only 2 million bitcoins are missing until the last one is issued

Only 2 million bitcoins are missing until the last one is issued

The 19 millionth bitcoin a short time ago at block 730,034, representing another milestone and a reminder of the scarcity of this cryptocurrency.

Now only 2 million coins left to reach the maximum emission of 21 million that this protocol has, whose last bitcoin will be mined approximately 120 years in the future.

However, this is no excuse to let time pass, when global demand has skyrocketed among financial institutions, countries at war, sovereign individuals who use it to make payments or save, and even governments who see bitcoin as an alternative to trade and store of value.

The global trend to adopt bitcoin seems irreversible today, just 13 years after its creation and launch, and reaching 19 million coins is for some a wake-up call.

At block 730,034, the 19 millionth bitcoin was mined. Source: bitcoin.clarkmoody.com

What is the future of Bitcoin mining?

Currently, each block with Bitcoin transactions generates 6.25 BTC new, which is distributed to the miner who has confirmed that block along with user commissions. But this amount was not always that amount.

Every 4 years or so, the block reward is halved in an event known as halving. Initially, in 2009, each Bitcoin block generated 50 BTC, but this reward was reduced first to 25 BTC, then to 12.5 BTC and for the last time to 6.25 BTC, in the years 2012, 2016 and 2020, respectively. .

This means that there will be fewer and fewer coins for Bitcoin miners, and they have been acting accordingly,

According to the firm Braiins, the savings of the miners amount to just over 2 million 500 thousand bitcoins, between individual miners (blue) and mining pools.

Graph denoting BTC savings.
BTC savings from Bitcoin network miners. Source: Brains.

Although the miners have been saving and ask for collateralized loans In order not to spend their bitcoins to pay for their activities (energy consumption, repairs, purchases, etc.), it is known that their business model is moving away from the reward of blocks towards a model based on commissions paid by the user.

This does not necessarily mean that users will pay more to make transactions, but it will represent in the future one of the main income for miners.

However, it is possible that the use of on-chain or mainnet transactions will be reduced and the network is used much more Lightning, not only for the user retail or retail, but for some payments that require more liquidity.

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In the meantime, the mainnet will be used to consolidate larger balances and payments, such as those that might then need Lightning channels or exchanges and users holding their coins in hardware wallets.

This thesis is explained by the analyst Lyn Alden in an essay that we covered in CriptoNoticias, where it is argued that Bitcoin mining will be supported by fees in the future.

How many bitcoins are missing or destroyed?

Although 21 million bitcoins are going to be issued, a smaller amount can actually be used, since many BTC have been lost forever over time.

According to a study by the Cane Island firm, published in 2020, only 14 million bitcoins will be in circulation, since in their estimation, 4% of the bitcoin currency issuance is lost each year.

There are several ways to “destroy” bitcoins. A user could lose their private keys and never be able to access their wallet again. Also, someone could send some BTC by accident to a wallet that is in disuse or whose keys are lost. In addition, a user could die leaving no heirs to receive those bitcoins, making your wallet inaccessible forever.

Graph denoting lost BTC.
The amount of lost bitcoins increases along with their issuance. Source: Cane Island Digital Research.

But they can also be destroyed intentionally, by sending it to wallet addresses whose private keys are maliciously destroyed by their owners.

Such is the case of the direction 1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuEa vanity address whose letters warn not to send bitcoins under the certainty that they will be lost: «Don’t send me bitcoins, I’ll eat them«. Just over 13 BTC have been deposited to this address to date.

Regarding this phenomenon, the creator of Bitcoin assured that each bitcoin issued could become more valuable as other currencies are lost or destroyed.

Lost coins just make everyone else’s coins worth a little bit more. Think of them as a donation to everyone,” said Satoshi Nakamoto in a BitcoinTalk forum post in June 2010.

At the end of 2019 CriptoNoticias reported that about 1.5 million BTC they could be lost foreverestimate that could put pressure on those who do not yet have BTC, but also reminds us The important thing about knowing how to take care of our wallets.