Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized digital currency, was created in 2009 by a mysterious person or group known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, it has grown in popularity and value, with many people investing in the cryptocurrency in hopes of making a profit. However, the question remains: how many bitcoin is there now?
As of August 2021, there are approximately 18.8 million bitcoin in circulation, out of a total of 21 million that will ever be created. This means that there are only 2.2 million bitcoin left to be mined, or created through a process known as mining.
Mining is the process of verifying transactions on the Bitcoin network and adding them to the blockchain, a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Miners are rewarded with new bitcoin for their efforts, which is how new bitcoin is introduced into circulation.
The rate at which new bitcoin is created is controlled by the Bitcoin protocol, which is designed to release a new block of bitcoin every 10 minutes on average. Each block contains a set number of bitcoin, which is halved every 210,000 blocks, or roughly every four years. This is known as the halving event, and it is designed to limit the supply of bitcoin and ensure that it remains a scarce asset.
The most recent halving event occurred in May 2020, when the block reward was reduced from 12.5 bitcoin to 6.25 bitcoin. This means that miners now receive half the amount of bitcoin that they did before, and the rate at which new bitcoin is created has been reduced by half as well.
While there are only 2.2 million bitcoin left to be mined, it is important to note that not all of these bitcoin will be immediately available for purchase or use. Many of them are held by long-term investors or lost due to forgotten passwords or other reasons.
According to a study by Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm, as much as 20% of the existing bitcoin supply may be lost forever. This means that the actual number of circulating bitcoin may be closer to 15 million, or even less.
Despite the limited supply of bitcoin, its price has been extremely volatile in recent years. In 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to nearly $20,000 before crashing back down to around $3,000 in 2018. Since then, it has rebounded and surpassed its previous highs, reaching a peak of over $64,000 in April 2021 before falling back down to around $30,000 in August.
The price of bitcoin is determined by supply and demand, with many factors influencing its value. These include regulatory developments, adoption by mainstream institutions, and investor sentiment. Some people believe that bitcoin is a bubble that will eventually burst, while others see it as a revolutionary new asset class that will continue to grow in value over time.
In conclusion, there are currently approximately 18.8 million bitcoin in circulation, with only 2.2 million left to be mined. However, not all of these bitcoin are immediately available for use or purchase, and many may be lost forever. The limited supply of bitcoin, combined with its growing popularity and adoption, has led to a highly volatile market where prices can fluctuate wildly. Whether bitcoin is a bubble or a revolutionary new asset class remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: it has captured the attention of investors and enthusiasts around the world.