In this guest post Stefan Ateljevic, Head of Content at Hosting Tribunals, explains what comes next for Bitcoin as we draw nearer to the coin’s limit.
A peculiar trait Bitcoin possesses is that only a set amount of it will exist. That amount is 21 million bitcoins. At the moment of writing, over 17 million has been mined.
That’s a serious amount of Bitcoin to mine in the relatively short time span of around 10 years. As we draw nearer and nearer to Bitcoin’s limit, more and more people are wondering what comes next.
Bitcoin miners will be impacted the most by this event. Since there are no more Bitcoins to justify the effort of mining blocks, there will obviously be less incentive for them to keep doing their job.
There is a supposed solution to this quandary. There will be no new Bitcoins to reap, but transactions will still occur, and these need to be validated and recorded. Therefore it has been brought forward that transaction fees will be sufficient to satisfy miners, though the merit of this claim remains a topic of debate.
Another effect BItcoin’s depletion may have is that it could increase in worth. The scarcity principle (also known as scarcity value) ensures us that once the number of available bitcoins stops going up, their worth will go up in response, as people believe it to be more valuable.
While these predictions do hold water, it’s important to realize that, as close as we may seem to the finish line, we are unlikely to see the last Bitcoin mined within our lifetime. Since the reward for mining a block drops by 50% per 200,000 Bitcoin mined, the depletion rate has slowed down quite a bit. In fact, the final Bitcoin should be mined around 2140.
Furthermore, there’s the fact that mining a block becomes more difficult as fewer of them remain. At the end of December 2018, the difficulty stood at over 5 billion, and it only promises to become harder from there.
With that in mind, you can see there’s still plenty of Bitcoin left to go around. If you’re new to Bitcoin, some of this text might have not been as clear to you. If you’re interested in learning more about it and the blockchain technology that makes it tick, you are welcome to study the excellent infographic by Bitcoinfy below.
This graph lays out everything you need to know to be in the know about Bitcoin and blockchain. You’ll find information about their history, how they work, and much more.
What makes the graph truly shine, though, is that it presents all of this to you in an amazingly clear and concise fashion, visuals and all. Therefore, there’s no need to feel intimidated by trying to understand such an intricate topic. So give the guide a go, while there are still bitcoins to mine.