How Many Bitcoins Are There? How Many Are Left To Be Mined?

How many bitcoins are there? Is there enough bitcoin to mine?

Bitcoin is probably the most popular cryptocurrency today. Many invest in powerful mining rigs or join bitcoin mining pools to earn a BTC.

Since many are into bitcoin mining, it’s understandable for some to wonder if there is still enough bitcoin to mine. Of course, the volume left contributes to the difficulty in mining and its profitability.

In this section, you will find out the answer to the question — how many bitcoins are there? So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Is Bitcoin Mining?

We will be discussing a lot about bitcoins, especially how many bitcoins are there left for mining. So, I will start this article with a section about bitcoin mining to give the newbies an overview of the process.

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new bitcoins enter into circulation. It’s also how the new transactions are confirmed using a network.

Basically, bitcoin mining is about validating transactions. The miner will search, verify and validate transactions from a pool of unconfirmed deals before adding them to the bitcoin network. They will do the validation by solving mathematical problems. The process is a critical component in maintaining and developing the blockchain ledger.

Mining requires sophisticated hardware to solve a complex mathematical problem. The first computer to find the solution will be awarded the next block of bitcoins and the new process begins again.

Although many are into cryptocurrency mining, it’s actually painstaking and costly but rewarding because every block reward comes with 6.5 BTC.

Yes, bitcoin mining is rewarding, but there are also risks.

You can spend time mining and still not get any bitcoin because as mentioned, only the first miner to arrive at the right answer or closest answer to the mathematical problem will receive a block reward.

The process does not involve advanced math or computation but the miners have to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number called “hash” that is less than or equal to the target has and the first one to successfully do will get the new block and each new block adds 6.25 bitcoins in circulation. Apparently, the process is guesswork.

Here’s a simple analogy.

You have three friends and you tell them you are thinking of a particular number between 1 and 100. Write that number on a piece of paper and seal it.

Let your friends guess the number and the one who gives a figure closest to the number but not greater to it will win. There will be no limit to how many guesses they get.

For example, you were thinking of no. 28. If your first friend’s guess is 29, the second’s guess is 10 and the third one’s guess is 25, the third one wins.

The answer should be less or equal to the number you wrote. Since the first friend gave a higher figure, the answer is already wrong. Both the second and third one gave a number lower than 28, but the third one’s answer was closest.

In the bitcoin mining process, there are thousands of miners and the number to be guessed is a 64-digit hexadecimal number.

Just imagine how strenuous the guesswork will be. Plus, the miners have to solve it fast because the bitcoin mining algorithm resets every 10 minutes, by then a new block has to be guessed.

Since there are trillions of possible guesses of randomness, the process requires hard work and that’s why bitcoin miners need a lot of computing power. If more miners join the network and add more hashing power, it will be easier and faster to find blocks.

To remedy this, Satoshi Nakamoto resets the mining difficulty once every two weeks or resets the blocks every 10 minutes.

A new block is created every 10 minutes, so the miners have to solve it again. The bitcoin network has grown exponentially but the average time of finding blocks has constantly remained below 10 minutes.

Aside from making miners wealthy and supporting the bitcoin ecosystem, mining is a very significant process because — it’s the only way to release new cryptocurrency into circulation.

Bitcoins are mined so they could join the circulation. All bitcoins in existence were mined. Basically, bitcoin miners are “minting” bitcoin. Without miners, bitcoin as a network will still exist as it is. However, there will be no new bitcoins in circulation.


How Many Bitcoins Are Left To Mine?

Cryptocurrency mining is a complex and energy-intensive process, but bitcoin is still profitable. Mining is a demanding procedure that requires powerful mining rigs, too much electricity, and more to earn a new Bitcoin.

Here’s an overview — you need a fast and powerful computer to solve a mathematical problem with a 64- digit solution to create a new coin. For each problem solved, one block of Bitcoins is processed and the first miner to solve it is rewarded with a new bitcoin. The new cryptocurrency is stored virtually through an online database called a blockchain.

Bitcoin was created in 2009 and Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity remains a mystery, set the upper limit in the source code at 21 million which means that there will be no more bitcoin to mine over that number. Initially, there were 21 million bitcoins.

Bitcoins are mined to be in circulation. However, the total number of bitcoins in existence has decreased over time because over a million bitcoins are lost in the past years. But do not worry, many bitcoins are left in circulation. There are still enough bitcoins in the market.

There is no reason why Nakamoto opted to settle for 21 million bitcoins when the limit could be higher or lower. But many believed that it’s already enough and the limited supply keeps the cryptocurrency scarce which helps bitcoin hold its price steady in the coming years.

After over a decade, nearly 90 percent of the total bitcoin has already been mined. Yes, about 18.78 million bitcoins have been mined.

Yes, in just 12 years most Bitcoin has already been brought into circulation which means that there are only a little over 2 million bitcoins left to mine, Gadgets 360 reported in August.

The Sun also reported close to the same figure in July. According to the outlet, the available bitcoins left to be mined were down to 2,250,681.3 bitcoins.

Although there is only over two million bitcoin left to mine, it will still take decades or even over a century to mine the last Bitcoin. Business Insider predicted that in the early 2030s, just a decade later, nearly 97 percent of the bitcoin will be mined. However, the remaining 3 percent will only come into existence during the next century and the final bitcoin is said to be mined around 2140.

The reason for the slow mining is “halving.” Bitcoins are introduced at a fixed rate of one block every 10 minutes. However, halving reduces the number of bitcoins released by 50 percent every four years. So, lesser bitcoins are mined over time and that’s why it will take longer to mine the last one.

Here’s an overview.

When Bitcoin was first mined in 2009, mining one block would give one 50 BTC. In 2012, it became 25 BTC. By 2016, it was down to 12.5 BTC.

On May 11, 2020, the reward became 6. 25 BTC. In September 2021, the price per Bitcoin is $45,000 which makes mining still profitable. So, yes, the process remains rewarding.


How Many Bitcoins Are Mined Per Day?

How many bitcoins are there in circulation? How many new bitcoins are created daily and added to the circulation? Every successful mining adds new bitcoins to circulation. So, how many bitcoins do miners make each day?

According to Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, 144 blocks are mined per day on average. There are 6.25 bitcoins per block reward. To get the number of bitcoins mined daily, we have to multiply 144 blocks by the number of bitcoins per block reward which is 6. 25.

144 blocks x 6.25 BTC = 900!

That means the total number of bitcoins mined daily is 900 on average. However, many miners are adding new hashpower over the last few years and a new block is often found at 9.5-minute intervals rather than 10 minutes.

So, it creates new bitcoins faster. On most days, the actual number of bitcoins created is more than 900.


How Many Bitcoins Are Lost?

Every year, more than 1 million bitcoins are lost. One recent estimate revealed that about 3 to 4 million bitcoins are lost forever.

However, it’s impossible to find the exact number because a lost bitcoin looks just like the same on the blockchain as one that is not lost.

The same applies to other digital assets. In most cases, they cannot be retrieved but are lost forever. The lost bitcoins permanently exit the circulation. More often, the reason is due to the user’s error.

A significant amount of bitcoin has been permanently lost due to people losing their private key which grants them access to their wallets. Aside from that, there are cases when the hardware is misplaced or bitcoin users failing to create a backup making the funds impossible to retrieve.

I have heard tons of stories from people who lost their private key or throw away a drive that had their bitcoin wallet on it.

Earlier this year, a programmer from San Francisco made headlines after he found himself locked out of an encrypted drive with a reported $220 million USD worth of bitcoin stored on it.

According to the outlet, he only had two remaining attempts to input the correct password before he would lose his BTC permanently.

The lost bitcoins shrinks the number of bitcoins in circulation and its maximum supply. According to Cane Island Digital Research, 4% of bitcoins in existence are lost each year. The study estimates that there will only be a maximum of 14 million bitcoins in circulation due to the rate at which the digital assets are lost.

Over eighteen million bitcoins are mined and an estimated 20% are inaccessible. At the time of the report, the inaccessible bitcoins amount to $140 billion. There are speculations that the lost bitcoins will only increase the value of the remaining bitcoins in circulation because they increase its scarcity.

However, good news for bitcoin users who lost their digital assets — there are chances that you can recover your lost bitcoins.

About 20% of all bitcoins are lost due to lost private keys which represent between 68,110 and 92,855 BTC that are recoverable, which translates to between $3.6 and $4.2 billion, a new study says per Yahoo! Finance.

Crypto Asset Recovery estimates that about 2.45% of lost Bitcoin is recoverable.

Charlie Brooks, the founder of the New Hampshire-based firm, told GOBankingRates that crypto’s inherent decentralization paired with strong encryption proves a secure system for stores of value but it also serves as its weakness.

“The value we add to the market is mostly reaped by retail investors as your typical retail investor is not always as serious about security as an investment firm with billions of dollars in assets under management,” Brooks said.

“To your average retail investor, the crypto and defi world is full of opportunities but fraught in insecurity by the lack of a safety net in the way of a centralized entity controlling their login details and securing their assets (i.e. a ‘forgot my password button’).”

According to Brooks, one of the potential solutions for that is using a custodial wallet. However, many are not sold with the idea of using crypto wallets as it is in opposition to the decentralized nature that is inherent to blockchain technology.

“This is where Crypto Asset Recovery helps retail investors the most,” he added.

Retail investors can hold their own private key and still retain recourse through Crypto Asset Recovery without having to turn over ownership of their keys in the event they lose their password to what they call “common crypto-assets” such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bogecoin or dozens of other altcoins.

For those who will use Crypto Asset Recovery, the bitcoin user has to provide them with a copy of their wallet and the best guesses of their password. They will use the password guesses to “brute force” the password.

The bitcoin and altcoin passwords are secure enough to foil a brute force password attack if the attacker has no prior knowledge of the password. However, the crypto asset owner knows part of their own password, so the probability of recovering the lost bitcoins “increases dramatically.”

Since recovering lost bitcoins is not easy, the company charges 20% transaction fees for the first 10 bitcoins recovered and a sliding scale for the next 10 bitcoins.

“For example — Let’s say we cracked a 15 Bitcoin wallet, we would charge 20% of the first 10 BTC and 15% of the remaining 5 BTC making our total commission 2.75 BTC,” Brooks explained.

“A large portion of Crypto Asset Recovery is conducting brute force attacks on our clients’ wallets to narrow in on a password — this is made substantially easier when we have full transparency and trust with our clients,” he added.

Most of their clients were early adopters who invested or mined bitcoins early on as a hobby when bitcoins were much cheaper. Brooks declined to reveal the largest number of bitcoins they recovered as it would be impossible to keep their client’s privacy. However, he said the recent sizeable crack was valued at over a quarter a million.

While firms like Crypto Asset Recovery are extremely useful, one should be wary of using their service. David Veksler of walletrecovery.info told Cryptonews.com that Bitcoin users should be careful because many are not legit.

Here are two hints that the bitcoin recovery agency is a scam.

First, it asks for money upfront for various transaction fees. Legitimate services ask for a percentage of the recovered fund and do not charge upfront transaction fees. Second, they make promises instead of understanding your situation to make a realistic solution.


Who Owns The Most Bitcoin?

There are probably thousands of people who have mined and traded bitcoin since 2009. Many have become multimillionaires for mining especially those who invest in bitcoin early on because back then, many were afraid to purchase the digital asset. Mining was then easier and more profitable. Apparently, bitcoin has helped many make a fortune.

Since bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency, many are wondering who owns most of it. To give you an overview, I’ll give you 10 names of the top 10 bitcoin investors.

1. Satoshi Nakamoto

Unsurprisingly, Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin owns most of the bitcoins in circulation. He is estimated to own about 1 million bitcoins which amounts to $34.9 billion in 2021.

Nakamoto created a cryptocurrency that is resistant to global economic crises. He wanted to help people keep their money secure. Things turned well because bitcoin has been embraced globally.

2. Micree Zhan

Zhan, a Chinese electronics engineer and businessman. He is the second richest bitcoin owner. He is also the co-founder of Bitmain. His net worth is estimated to be $3.2 billion per Forbes.

3. Mike Novogratz

Mike Novogratz, the founder of the Galaxy Investment Partners, comes third on the list. Galaxy Investment Partners focuses on investing and developing cryptocurrency-related services. He reportedly invested $7 million in bitcoin in 2013 and use those funds to finance his company. At present, he is worth $478 million, according to Forbes.

4. Matthew Roszak

Matthew Roszaki is the co-founder of Bloq, a blockchain-centered tech company focused on developing tokenized networks and applications. Roszaki is a crypto advocate and this is apparent in Bloq which offers guidance about everything in crypto from payment processing to assisting banks in safely storing digital assets. His crypto network is estimated to be $1.2 billion

5. The Winklevos Twins

The Winklevos twins — Cameron and Tyler — are among the wealthiest people after investing in bitcoin. The twins made headlines in 2004 after they sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their social networking idea to create Facebook.

Zuckerberg settled the case by paying them $65 million in cash and giving them Facebook shares. They own 700,000 bitcoins and were considered the first billionaires from investing bitcoin in as early as 2017.

6. Blythe Masters

Blythe Masters is another crypto investor who has worked in the finance sector for so many years. She also served as Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Prior to that, in 2014, she served as the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a company that develops encryption-based processing software that improves Bitcoin trading’s performance, safety, compliance and settlement pace.

Masters has an estimated worth of at least $500 million in 2021, but there is a little detail about her net worth.

7. Dan Morehead

Dan Morehead, the founder of Pantera Capital, made it into the list. Pantera Capital is the world’s first cryptocurrency-focused investment company. Its bitcoin fund has provided a 24,000% return to investors allowing Morehead to accumulate a net worth of about $200 million.

Pantera Capital does not only invest in cryptocurrencies but also fund other crypto-relation companies like exchanges and coin trading services such as Polychain Capital and Bitstamp. The company has made major growth since its launch in 2013. By 2018, it became one of the largest institutional cryptocurrency investors.

8. Microstrategy

MicroStrategy is the richest institution in bitcoin. In February 2021, it acquired additional 19,452 bitcoins for $1.026 billion in cash. It has an average price of 19,452 bitcoins for $1.026 billion in cash. Overall, it owns an estimate of 90, 531 bitcoins.

9. Tesla

Tesla is among the businesses that hold the most bitcoin. Its SEC filing revealed that the company invested approximately $1.50 billion in cryptocurrency.

As of the fourth quarter of 2020, it invested 7.7% of its $19.384 billion cash reserves in bitcoin. The company also announced that it would accept bitcoin payments for its goods. It’s the first automaker to do so.

However, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk seemed to have a change of heart. In May, Musk announced that Tesla would suspend vehicle purchases using bitcoins.

The company was concerned about the increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions especially coal which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

The company still believes that cryptocurrency is a good idea and that it has a promising future. However, it doesn’t agree that its benefits should be at the expense of the environment.

“Tesla will not be selling any bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction,” the announcement concluded.

Just a few days ago, Musk issued a serious bitcoin warning after China crashed its price. In the last 30 days, the bitcoin price has lost almost 10% with China’s latest crypto crackdown breaking the enthusiasm of bitcoin and crypto traders.

“Just let it fly,” Musk said as quoted by Forbes. “There’s some value in crypto, but I don’t think it’s the second coming of the messiah. It will hopefully reduce the error and latency in legacy money systems.”

China has escalated a crypto crackdown since May declaring all cryptocurrency transactions illegal. It also bans foreign exchanges from providing crypto services to Chinese residents. The China government also shut down powerful computers to secure cryptocurrency blockchains which results in crashing the bitcoin price and wider crypto market.

“It would appear [the Chinese government doesn’t] love crypto,” Musk said about the matter. “I suppose crypto is fundamentally aimed at reducing the power of centralized government and they don’t like that, is my guess.”

10. Grayscale Investments

Grayscale Investments is another popular brand in the bitcoin market. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is the largest investment fund that owns bitcoin and the only one that is available within traditional finance.

It also has the world’s most versatile portfolio compared to any institutional investment platform with over $30 billion worth of BTC and in ownership of 656,166 BTC.


Why Is Bitcoin 21 Million Limit?

There are originally 21 million bitcoins but nearly 90% have already been mined. The creator of bitcoin has not really explained why it chose the said figure. But many believed that with a limit, bitcoin has very little chance to ever lose its value in the future.

When something is scarce, theoretically, its value holds steady in the coming year. It’s for that reason, bitcoin is called “digital gold” because there’s only a certain amount of bitcoin in existence.

Normal currency only loses its value over time when the central authority keeps printing them without setting an upper limit. That’s probably the reason bitcoin’s upper cap was set to 21 million.

Nakamoto put a fixed supply limit to bitcoin to give it anti-inflammatory properties. An email shared by software developer Mike Hearn revealed that Nakamoto intended bitcoin’s unit prices to eventually align with the traditional fiat currency so that for instance 0.001 BTC would be worth 2 Euro.

“I wanted to pick something that would make prices similar to existing currencies, but without knowing the future, that’s very hard. I ended up picking something in the middle,” Nakamoto said per The Next Web.

“If Bitcoin remains a small niche, it’ll be worth less per unit than existing currencies. If you imagine it being used for some fraction of world commerce, then there’s only going to be 21 million coins for the whole world, so it would be worth much more per unit,” they added.

Decrypt offered two reasons why Nakamoto chose the said figure — (1) money supply replacement theory and (2) the limit could be mathematically extrapolated from Bitcoin’s operating parameters.

Money supply replacement theory

By limiting the maximum supply and slowing the rate at which new bitcoin comes into existence, Satoshi intended each individual bitcoin unit to appreciate in value over time.

Nakamoto and Hearn explained that if 21 million coins were to be used by some fraction of the world economy0.001 BTC (1 mBTC) could be worth around €1. The prediction came true in 2013.

Although he compared Bitcoin to Euro in his email, some believed he may have had a much grander vision for bitcoin that’s why he chose the 21 million maximum figure.

At the time bitcoin was created the entire world’s money supply was at $21 trillion. The figure was known as the M1 money supply, which is made up of the total value of all the physical money in the world including cash, coins, travelers’ checks and more.

If Satoshi aims for bitcoin to be the single world currency to replace the M1 figure then each BTC would be worth $1 million because there are 100 million satoshis in each Bitcoin. That would place the value of each satoshi at $0.01.

The numbers align so closely which is a remarkable coincidence if it’s not intentional.

Bitcoin’s operating parameters

Aside from the M1 money supply replacement theory, the other plausible rationale is bitcoin’s operating parameters. The figure allows the network to ensure that blocks are mined in a regular timeframe of 10 minutes.

It also ensures that the amount of bitcoin paid out to miners as block rewards decrease over time as the maximum supply approaches its limit. The parameters set could be why Nakamoto limit bitcoin to a maximum of 21 million.

Again, when it comes to why 21 million and not other figures, there is still no concrete reason behind it. All of the things are mere speculations. It could be that 21 million was just an educated guess. Or more of a mathematical coincidence than a conscious choice.

While there is no explanation as to how Nakamoto ended up with 21 million, giving Bitcoin a limit makes sense. Also, there is no central authority that will create additional Bitcoins above the maximum mark set as the Fed can do in US dollars. So, bitcoin’s max limit at 21 million will stay as-is.


How Many Bitcoins Make Up $1?

The value of bitcoin is volatile, it’s best if you use a BTC to USD or USD to BTC converter to get the current rate. At present, $1 is made up of 0.0000209130 BTC.

Meanwhile, a single bitcoin is worth $47, 505. 96. However, expect changes from the said figure from time to time.

Bitcoin’s price fluctuates frequently on cryptocurrency exchanges due to many factors. The volatility is measured in traditional markets by the volatility index also known as the CBOE volatility index (VIX). With it, you can track the volatility of the world’s leading digital currency by market cap.

Bitcoin’s value has been historically volatile. For instance, from October 2017 to January 2018, the price of Bitcoin reached nearly 8% which was twice its volatility in the 30-day period ending January 15, 2020.

Summary: How Many Bitcoins Are There (as of Oct 3, 2021)

Total BTC in Existence: 18,832,706.25

Bitcoins Left to Be Mined: 2,167,293.8

% of Bitcoins Issued: 89.680%

New Bitcoins per Day: 900

BTC out of circulation: 30 -50% (2.56 million or $20 billion)


Wrap Up

The majority of the Bitcoin, nearly 90% have already been mined. Nakamoto has set the maximum limit of Bitcoin to 21 million in the source code to ensure that it will hold its value.

There are only over 2 million Bitcoins left to mine, but it will still take over a century to mine the last one because of halving. All bitcoins are mined for them to be in circulation.

Bitcoin mining is the only way to increase the total number of bitcoins in existence. Every successful miner will receive a block reward that comes with 6.5 BTC.

However, many bitcoins are lost due to the users forgetting their private keys. But there are cryptocurrency agencies that can help retrieve those bitcoins.

Lost bitcoins can somehow help bitcoins hold their value because it limits the supply.

Meanwhile, as the volume of bitcoin left decreases, it will be more difficult to mine it. Business Insider predicted that the last bitcoin will not be mine until 2140!

I hope the articles above give you a concrete understanding of how many bitcoins are there and how many bitcoins are left to be mined. If you wish to learn more about Bitcoin, check our home page.

 

References

  • gadgets.ndtv.com/cryptocurrency/features/bitcoin-total-coins-limit-21-million-price-impact-mining-2512575
  • mybtc.ca/article/who-owns-the-most-bitcoin
  • linkedin.com/pulse/bitcoin-halving-why-never-more-than-21-million-bitcoins-abhijeet-rout/
  • decrypt.co/34876/why-is-bitcoins-supply-limit-set-to-21-million
  • buybitcoinworldwide.com/how-many-bitcoins-are-there/
  • blog.unchained-capital.com/bitcoin-data-science-pt-2-the-geology-of-lost-coins-79e5a0dc6d1
  • static1.squarespace.com/static/5d580747908cdc0001e6792d/t/5e98dde5558a587a09fac0cc/1587076583519/research+note+4.17.pdf
  • forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2021/09/30/crypto-isnt-the-second-coming-teslas-elon-musk-issues-serious-bitcoin-warning-after-china-crashed-the-price/
  • forbes.com/profile/zhan-micree/?sh=7f17daf98893
  • forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2021/01/11/bitcoins-recent-surge-creates-new-billionaires/
  • cryptonews.com/
  • bloq.com/
  • panteracapital.com/
  • twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1392602041025843203

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