The popularity of Bitcoin has been continuously growing over the past few years with it being the first digital currency in the now widespread cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin still continues to maintain the coveted tag of being the world’s largest cryptocurrency over past few years in spite of the growing competition fueled by the entry of new digital tokens.
Bitcoin still remains one of the most debated and discussed topics in the crypto market and is still considered as the forerunner in driving the momentum of the entire market. But, since the beginning of 2018, Bitcoin has witnessed significant erosion in its price of over 70% from its peak of $20000 attained during mid-December 2017. Recently, there were some interesting insights into the matter of how the lost or stolen BTC tokens are affecting the actual price of the digital currency provided by Jameson Lopp during the Building on Bitcoin conference this week.
Lopp revealed that an estimated 4 million BTC are lost and 2 million BTC are stolen. Till now 6 million Bitcoin tokens are permanently lost or inaccessible on the Bitcoin blockchain. This is a huge figure considering that the total supply of Bitcoins is pegged at 21 million. This means that nearly 30 percent of the total BTC supply just vanished.
It implies that the total supply of available BTC tokens for the trading purpose cannot be greater than 15 million. 17 million BTC tokens have been mined till now and considering 6 million tokens being unavailable, there are currently 11 million tokens in market circulation at the moment.
Last year in November 2017, cryptocurrency and blockchain analytics company Chainalysis for the first time revealed that 3.79 million BTC tokens are already lost on the Bitcoin blockchain. Kim Grauer, senior economist at Chainalysis said that it is difficult to find out whether the lost tokens are taken into consideration while determining the actual value of BTC tokens which is due to the highly speculative and volatile behavior of the cryptocurrency market. He said that in the long-run as we attain the maximum supply of 21 million BTC tokens, the demand could push the price of the token even higher. Grauer explained:
“That is a very complex question. On the one hand, direct calculations about market cap do not take lost coins into consideration. Considering how highly speculative this field is, those market cap calculations may make it into economic models of the market that impact spending activity. Yet the market has adapted to the actual demand and supply available – just look at exchange behavior. Furthermore, it is well known monetary policy procedure to lower or increase fiat reserves to impact exchange rates. So the answer is yes and no.”
Currently, the existing price of $6700 per BTC is determined considering that there are 17.13 million BTC in circulation in the crypto market. Considering 6 million lost tokens, if the actual supply in circulation is considered to be 11 million, BTC could be valued somewhere around $10,300.
The Bitcoin market is still divided over the opinions of several big analysts from the global financial sector. Moreover, with the latest involvement of regulatory bodies from around the globe, how things will eventually take shape in the crypto economy going further remains to be seen.