At the current rate, we can expect the 18 millionth Bitcoin to be mined today. This will leave only 3 million more to mine. With the next Bitcoin halving approaching quickly, it’s perhaps time to appreciate one of the most powerful qualities of Bitcoin, namely, its digital scarcity.
18 Millionth Bitcoin to be Mined
Bitcoin’s history begins a little over 10 years ago. In that short period of time, the currency has reached more than 85% of its total supply. Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of the protocol, hardwired it so that no more than 21 million bitcoins could ever be “created.” Of course, this could be changed if the majority of network participants representing 51% of the hashrate unanimously decided to do so. Looking at its rather distributed nature, however, the odds of this happening are slim at best.
After today, only 3,000,000 bitcoins will be left to 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 nearest event which is directly related to mining is the 2020 Bitcoin halving. At the current hashrate, it should take place in May of next year. This will slash the reward that miners get for adding new blocks to the network in half.
Basically, instead of the 12.5 BTC block reward that miners get now, they will begin receiving 6.25 BTC. 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 to 900. 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 makes Bitcoin stand out among other digital products is its scarcity. It has a finite supply that is predetermined and universally known, unlike gold. While gold is also scarce, the amount of gold that has yet to be mined is based on estimates and research. With Bitcoin, we know exactly how many will ever be in circulation – 21 million.
Many benefits stem from this fact. First and foremost, no one but network participants has the capacity to “print” new bitcoins in order to control inflation. Bitcoin’s inflation rate is also predetermined, and it’s reduced only as the block reward goes down – after the halving events.
Another thing that should be considered, and perhaps what people are interested in the most, is the effect 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 purpose it does today. Its price would certainly be different then.
In any case, to commemorate this event and to unite the community under one umbrella, popular Bitcoin proponent Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has created a hashtag on Twitter: #3MillionLeft. Hundreds of people have used it so far.