Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, has been gaining popularity since its inception in 2009. With its decentralized nature, limited supply, and high demand, Bitcoin has been considered by many as a store of value and a hedge against inflation. However, as the adoption and usage of Bitcoin increase, many people are wondering: when will Bitcoin’s supply run out?
To understand when Bitcoin’s supply will run out, we need to first understand how Bitcoin works. Bitcoin is created through a process called mining, where powerful computers around the world compete to solve complex mathematical equations. When a miner solves a mathematical equation, they are rewarded with a certain amount of Bitcoin. This process is known as the Bitcoin block reward.
When Bitcoin was first created, the block reward was 50 Bitcoin per block. However, every 210,000 blocks, the block reward is halved. This means that after the first halving in 2012, the block reward was reduced to 25 Bitcoin per block. In 2016, the second halving occurred, reducing the block reward to 12.5 Bitcoin per block. The most recent halving occurred in 2020, reducing the block reward to 6.25 Bitcoin per block.
The halving of the block reward is designed to limit the total supply of Bitcoin to 21 million. This means that once all 21 million Bitcoin have been mined, no more Bitcoin will be created. Currently, there are approximately 18.7 million Bitcoin in circulation, leaving around 2.3 million Bitcoin left to be mined.
Based on the current block reward of 6.25 Bitcoin per block, it is estimated that the last Bitcoin will be mined around the year 2140. However, the rate at which Bitcoin is mined is not constant. The difficulty of the mathematical equations that miners must solve is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or approximately every two weeks. If the mining power of the network increases, the difficulty of the equations will increase, and if the mining power decreases, the difficulty will decrease.
As the mining difficulty increases, it becomes harder and harder to mine Bitcoin. This means that the rate at which new Bitcoin is mined will slow down over time. In fact, it is estimated that by 2030, around 99% of all Bitcoin will have been mined. This means that the remaining 1% of Bitcoin will take over 100 years to mine.
Once all 21 million Bitcoin have been mined, the only way to obtain Bitcoin will be through buying it on the open market. This could lead to an increase in the price of Bitcoin as demand for the limited supply increases. However, it is also possible that as the supply of Bitcoin becomes limited, people may start to lose interest in it as a currency or store of value.
In conclusion, Bitcoin’s supply will run out once all 21 million Bitcoin have been mined. Based on the current block reward of 6.25 Bitcoin per block, the last Bitcoin is estimated to be mined around the year 2140. However, the rate at which new Bitcoin is mined is not constant and will slow down over time as the mining difficulty increases. As the supply of Bitcoin becomes limited, its price may increase, but it is also possible that interest in Bitcoin may decrease. Only time will tell what the future holds for Bitcoin and its limited supply.