An experienced writer with practical experience in the fintech industry. When not writing, he spends his time reading, researching or teaching.
It has taken Bitcoin just 12 years to reach 90% of its total hard cap. However, it will take another 119 years for the remaining 10% of the Bitcoin supply to be achieved.
Data from cryptocurrency company Blockchain.com has shown that 90% of the total circulating supply of Bitcoin (BTC) has been reached.
According to the data, the current bitcoin supply is about 18,899 million bitcoins leaving just over 2million. Recall that the hard cap of bitcoin – the total number of Bitcoins that will ever be in circulation – is 21 million. The hard cap is a critical determinant of Bitcoin’s value proposition as a currency and an investment tool. It is kept intact by its source code and network nodes.
Since its launch, it has taken Bitcoin just 12 years to reach 90% of its total hard cap. However, it will take another 119 years for the remaining 10% of the Bitcoin supply to be achieved. This means that from January 9, 2009, when BTC was first mined, the remaining 10% will not be mined until February 2140. The estimates are based on activities on the network and Bitcoin halving schedules.
With supply on the rise, there has been a corresponding rise in the demand for Bitcoin. Consequently, this has caused a spike in the price of bitcoin. From barely $0.10 in early 2010 to $7.50 in December 2012, the price of bitcoin has continued to soar. As of the time of writing, the price was $48,731 according to data from CoinGecko.
How Bitcoin Supply Increases
Bitcoin is based on the proof-of-work consensus mechanism. It depends on willing participants in the network known as miners. Through a process known as mining, these participants process transactions and validate cryptographic blocks.
To do this, these miners use advanced computing power and hardware to solve complex calculations on the network per second. In return, they get bitcoin as a reward. Since the last bitcoin halving in May 2020, miners get 6.25 BTC as a reward for mining individual blocks. This reward will reduce by half to 3.125 bitcoin at the next having in 2024. By 2040, there will be only 80,000 BTCs to mine and the block reward will reduce to lesser than 0.2 BTC.
Notably, not all bitcoins will be in circulation on the open market. While some have been lost due to the loss of private keys, others have been lost to the death of the wallet owners. Also, there are one million BTCs held privately by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. According to Chainanalysis, up to 3.7 million BTCs will be lost.