How many bitcoins are there?

Kai Vollmer
Kai Vollmer Author
Crypto Expert

How many Bitcoins are there? This question comes up quickly when dealing with the topic of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency first introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. It is the very first cryptocurrency to be launched. This is a decentralized currency that helps make payments in exchange for goods and services. However, due to strong price fluctuations, Bitcoin is also often viewed as an investment object. This article is about the creation of a bitcoin, how many pieces will be available in the future and how this could affect the price.

Bitcoin Logo

Number of total Bitcoin

We established at the beginning that there is a limited number of bitcoins in the world. Only 21 million Bitcoin can exist in total. Currently, (November 2022) around 18.9 million bitcoin have been mined, with around 2.1 million still missing. So, the bitcoin currently in circulation has already been mined. Bitcoin mining is getting harder and harder.

On the one hand, this is because fewer and fewer bitcoins are available, and on the other hand, more and more people are certainly taking part in this process. Since it is ultimately about computing power, a correspondingly strong hardware is a basic requirement. For a private individual with effective mining hardware, it currently takes around 4 to 5 years on average to mine one bitcoin.

If you are interested in digitally mining Bitcoin yourself, you will have to expect a high investment right from the start. The necessary hardware is currently difficult to get hold of and relatively expensive at the same time. However, if the Bitcoin price continues to grow strongly, this could still be a lucrative business.

How Does the Blockchain Work?

To better understand the concept of “halving” and all related processes, it's essential to delve into how the blockchain operates. Despite its complexity, let's focus on the essentials. At its core, the blockchain is a distributed database management system that stores an ever-growing list of data records.

These records include digital assets, smart contracts, and transactions. They are interconnected through blocks, hence the term “blockchain,” where “chain” signifies a series of interconnected items.

Pros and Cons of Blockchain

Now that we've touched upon the essence of blockchain, let's examine its advantages and disadvantages. Blockchain holds immense potential, capable of revolutionizing more than just the financial sector.

Years of research have significantly advanced the technology, evident in its expanding range of applications, including finance, healthcare, and logistics. In the era of Big Data, this is hardly surprising.

Advantages of Blockchain

High Security Against Manipulation:

Blockchain technology is notoriously difficult to tamper with. This is because each block stores not only transaction data but also information about all other transactions. Manipulating one block would require altering numerous others, a feat challenging to achieve even with considerable effort and technical expertise.

High Transparency:

All data on the blockchain is publicly accessible, and all network participants can access it. Since no one can prevent access to this information, the technology offers a high degree of transparency, lending credibility to processes conducted on the blockchain.

More Cost-Efficient Processes:

The decentralized nature of blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries in process execution. While miners do play a role, primarily in transaction verification, the technology enables more cost-efficient processes. Theoretically, businesses could conduct operations without relying on additional personnel.

Immutability:

It is fundamentally impossible to reverse or alter transactions or other actions on the blockchain. This immutability, while having its downsides, ensures greater transparency. Users can be confident that once records are confirmed, they remain unchanged.

Disadvantages of Blockchain

Anonymity:

Cryptocurrencies are often associated with anonymity. While not entirely unfounded, this only partially reflects reality. Indeed, transactions can be conducted anonymously, but the permanent storage of all transactions on the blockchain could potentially compromise anonymity. Ultimately, it depends on how users manage sensitive data and what measures they take to preserve their anonymity.

Regulation:

Regulation is a challenging issue for two reasons. First, monitoring is often inadequate in most countries; second, increasing regulation could lead to issues like stifling innovation, countering the original purpose of blockchain. A balanced approach is needed to ensure user protection without hindering technological progress.

Scalability:

While growing acceptance is positive, it also leads to scalability issues. As more people use the blockchain, transaction fees rise, and transaction speeds decrease. Large networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum struggle to cope with the increased volume of transactions. These scalability issues must be resolved for efficient blockchain use.

Irreversibility:

While immutability contributes to security and transparency, it also carries risks. For example, transactions are irreversible. Unlike fiat currency transactions, which can often be reversed, this is not possible with cryptocurrencies. Once confirmed, transactions are final. Another issue arises when users lose their passwords or other access credentials.

How Does the Blockchain Affect the Number of Bitcoins?

Understanding the blockchain principle should also enable you to grasp the concept of halving. Halving is simply an algorithm implemented into the blockchain. It sets the maximum number of Bitcoins and ensures that miner rewards are halved every 210,000 blocks.

Since this algorithm is unalterable due to the decentralized nature of blockchain technology, no one can influence its operation. It is, in essence, an automatic process embedded in the fundamental rules of the blockchain.

What is a Block?

To clarify the principle behind the blockchain, we should examine blocks more closely. Essentially, blocks are collections of data records or transactions that occur within a specific timeframe. As they are stacked upon each other, they become interdependent, forming the so-called blockchain.

Miners are tasked with discovering and publishing new blocks, for which they are rewarded with a certain number of Bitcoins. When you await the confirmation of a transaction, you are essentially waiting for the publication of a new block. The various blocks of the blockchain are publicly visible.

Components of a Block

A block consists of a “Block Header” and a “Block Body.” The “Block Header,” or the head of the block, includes the following components:

The “Block Header” is crucial as it connects all blocks. The “Block Body,” on the other hand, has a different role. It is responsible for storing the actual transaction data, including information about the amount, recipient, and sender.

What Do Blocks Have to Do With the Number of Bitcoins?

Since the blockchain is based on a construct of interconnected blocks, it is crucial for all circulating Bitcoins. Without it, Bitcoins would simply not exist. Moreover, all rules of the blockchain are related to blocks in some way, including the predetermined quantity and the halving that occurs every four years. Essentially, a Bitcoin is nothing more than an entry on a block of the blockchain.

Can Lost Bitcoins Be Recovered?

Over the years, it's estimated that about 20% of the bitcoins in circulation have been lost due to various reasons, from damaged hard drives and forgotten passwords to lost keys. As Bitcoin continues to gain popularity and its quantity steadily decreases due to halvings, many wonder whether these lost bitcoins can be recovered.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Recovering lost bitcoins is nearly impossible, especially if they are not personally yours. If they are your own, there might be a chance to recover lost keys or regain access in other ways, but such instances are quite rare.

How Mining Works with the Proof of Work Consensus Algorithm

Mining might sound complicated, but it's not as complex as it seems. The specifics depend on the consensus algorithm in use. Bitcoin uses Proof of Work, so let's focus on that. The first step is transaction validation, where the network collects information from users or transactions on the waiting list.

Miners then choose which of these transactions to include in the next block. This can only be done by providing a proof of work, which involves finding a hash value that meets certain criteria. The miner who solves the task first sends the block to the network. Thereafter, the block only needs to be confirmed by other network participants.

What Are Hashes?

In the Proof of Work consensus algorithm, the task of generating a new block involves finding a specific hash value. But what exactly are hashes? Hashes are cryptographic functions made up of a long combination of letters and numbers.

They are used for the efficient and secure processing of data. What's special about hashes is that they can be uniquely associated with specific inputs. Since hashes are immutable, they can be used to verify the integrity of data. Hashes are the reason the blockchain is transparent.

Limited Rewards = Higher Transaction Costs?

Halving cuts the rewards for miners in half. While it is assumed that this will cause the price of Bitcoin to rise, skeptics also consider another scenario plausible. Theoretically, the reduced rewards could lead to fewer miners. If this happens, transaction costs could soar.

Not to mention a significantly slower transaction speed. Both could affect Bitcoin prices. The price could plummet instead of rising as hoped. However, this development has been considered in the past and has not occurred, likely due to continued demand. Whether it would be the same this time is uncertain, but most experts consider the scenario unlikely.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

During mining, new bitcoins are created. It uses computer hardware to solve complex mathematical problems. In this process, the first person to find the solution to the math problem is rewarded.

You will be rewarded with Bitcoin blocks. However, you will only receive them if you are the first person to solve the mathematical problem. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, then it is restarted.

These computational tasks are used to verify the transactions of the currency. Many people are now interested in mining, as Bitcoin has increased in value greatly recently. The mining process becomes more difficult with every Bitcoin mined. This is because there is only a certain number of Bitcoin available for miners.

Is Bitcoin Mining Still Worth It?

In the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency, whether Bitcoin mining remains a profitable venture lingers in the minds of many. Over the past years, the mining game has evolved. The once relatively straightforward process has grown in complexity, with a surge in miners vying for the coveted rewards that the network offers. This surge, however, has led to an exponential increase in the computational power required for successful Bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin Mining

Enter the realm of specialized hardware, where the “Application Specific Integrated Circuit Miner” (ASIC) reigns supreme. This technological marvel has become the miner's tool of choice, equipped with the prowess to navigate the intricate algorithms that secure the Bitcoin network. But with great power comes a considerable price tag, and herein lies a crucial factor to consider.

As the years pass, ASIC hardware undergoes metamorphosis, each iteration outshining its predecessor. To stay competitive, miners find themselves entwined in a constant dance of upgrades and investments. It's a testament to the ever-evolving nature of this digital gold rush.

Yet, the story doesn't end with hardware alone. A significant determinant in the equation of profitability is the formidable force of electricity costs. Bitcoin mining dances hand in hand with electricity consumption, and the spiraling energy prices have emerged as a formidable adversary. Profitability hinges on a delicate balance – where rewards must triumph over energy expenditures and hardware costs, forming a triumphant trifecta.

Imagine, if you will, a scenario where your abode generates solar power and a trusty battery cache holds the excess energy. Here, the allure of Bitcoin mining starts to shimmer like a distant star. The synergy of renewable energy and mining potential paints a compelling picture of self-sufficiency and decentralized empowerment.

And yet, there's a plot twist in this digital odyssey. Enter the Bitcoin Halving – a scheduled event that slashes miner rewards with surgical precision. Like clockwork, these halvings usher in a new era of scarcity, leaving miners with fewer Bitcoin nuggets for their efforts. This delicate dance between reward reduction and potential price shifts can sway the scales of profitability.

So, is the allure of Bitcoin mining still captivating, like a siren's call? As with any voyage, the answer resides within a spectrum of variables, each intricately woven into the fabric of this financial frontier. The evolution of technology, the dance with energy costs, and the symphony of halvings and price fluctuations – they all choreograph the ballet of Bitcoin mining's profitability.

In the end, the choice to embark on this digital expedition rests not merely on a financial equation but on a tapestry of passion, innovation, and belief in the decentralized future that cryptocurrencies promise. As the miners march on, each with their ASIC pickaxe and determination in hand, they tread the path of innovation, sculpting the narrative of tomorrow, one hash at a time.

How else can I get into Bitcoin?

Bitcoin mining can be laborious, costly, and yet not very lucrative. If you are still interested in acquiring them, there are different options:

Exchanges for cryptocurrencies

So, if you have some cash on the side that you would like to invest, you can acquire Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies via exchanges. This is already widespread and next to mining, probably the best known way to get cryptocurrencies.

The market is now full of providers that offer trading platforms for their customers. We have already taken a closer look at some major exchanges and tested them in detail for you:

Peer-to-peer networks

These networks are another option to get cryptocurrencies. However, a trading platform does not act as an intermediary, but you get in touch directly with other interested parties. The network helps you find a person who wants to sell you the desired number of cryptocurrencies.

This sounds good in theory, but it leads to a trust problem. In actual exchanges, you need to be sure that you can trust the other person. This is also the main reason why most people prefer exchanges as their first choice.

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What is Bitcoin Halving?

The Bitcoin Halving, a pivotal event occurring every four years, is an integral facet of the coin's monetary policy. During this event, miner rewards are cut in half, resulting in fewer Bitcoins being received for the mining of a new block. This reduction also influences the total number of newly minted Bitcoins.

Bitcoin Halving

This total follows an exponential decrease with each Halving, ultimately reaching the maximum cap of 21 million Bitcoins. Given an average block time of 10 minutes, this milestone is projected to be achieved around the year 2040. Initially, a block reward stood at 50 Bitcoins. In 2012, it was halved to 25 Bitcoins, followed by reductions to 12.5 Bitcoins in 2016 and 6.25 Bitcoins in 2020.

When is the Next Bitcoin Halving?

The next Bitcoin Halving is expected to take place on April 17, 2024. This will further reduce the block reward from 6.25 to 3.125 Bitcoins. While the full impact of this event remains uncertain, many crypto enthusiasts eagerly anticipate its arrival. What's clear is that this won't be the final Bitcoin Halving. In the coming years, we can anticipate the following milestones:

By the time the 8th Halving approaches, with the total supply of 21 million Bitcoins reached in 2040, the block reward will be reduced to zero. This ensures that the maximum supply isn't surpassed and that Bitcoin maintains its status as a deflationary currency.

Impact of Bitcoin Halving on the Crypto Market

While no one can predict precisely how the Bitcoin Halving will affect the crypto market, experts anticipate another bull run. This projection is rooted in the fact that Bitcoin is a scarce digital asset, and the Halving accentuates this scarcity. With each Halving, the rate of new Bitcoin creation diminishes. Consequently, supply becomes scarcer as demand remains steady or potentially grows due to the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

This phenomenon has historically led to extended periods of bullish market sentiment following a Bitcoin Halving. It's likely that a similar pattern will unfold this time. The exact timing of this bull run is uncertain; it could take several months or even one to two years, assuming, of course, that these predictions materialize. Historical trends suggest this outcome is plausible.

Can New Bitcoins Enter Circulation?

It is projected that by 2040, the total supply of 21 million Bitcoins will be reached. The fact that many of these Bitcoins are permanently lost is inconsequential to this milestone. It's unlikely that new Bitcoins will enter circulation beyond this point. An increase in the maximum supply would only be possible through a uniform and widespread change to the protocol. Such a change would require the unanimous support of the entire Bitcoin community. Given that the limited supply is a fundamental tenet of Bitcoin, it's improbable that such an alteration will ever occur. To date, there are no indications from the community suggesting a raise in the upper limit is on the horizon.

Bitcoin as a Deflationary Currency

Bitcoin stands as a beacon of deflationary currency in a world dominated by fiat currencies. Unlike their traditional counterparts, Bitcoin's supply is rigidly fixed at 21 million coins. This characteristic comes with a host of advantages, including:

Given these multifaceted advantages, the surging embrace of Bitcoin comes as no surprise. Yet, it's essential to note that Bitcoin is far from the solitary player in the realm of limited-supply cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency landscape is rich with innovation, where various digital assets proudly sport their own unique qualities and aspirations. As the future unfolds, these currencies, including Bitcoin, will continue to carve their distinct paths, collectively shaping the financial landscape of tomorrow.

Other Cryptocurrencies with Limited Supply

Beyond Bitcoin, several other deflationary cryptocurrencies have established their presence in the market. Among the most popular are:

However, it's important to note that not all well-known cryptocurrencies adhere to a deflationary model. There are also inflationary digital currencies that enjoy widespread popularity. The most prominent example is Ripple (XRP), often dubbed as the “Bitcoin of the banks.” While Ripple doesn't have a fixed upper limit on its total supply, it still ranks among the cryptocurrencies with the largest market capitalization. Many experts predict that XRP will play a significant role in the financial industry in the years to come.

This projection is bolstered by its numerous partnerships with major companies such as Banco Santander, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Western Union. Given these collaborations, the potential for Ripple to shape the future of finance is indeed an intriguing possibility.

Halving in Other Cryptocurrencies

Halving is a concept that extends beyond Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies. Over the years, several other cryptocurrencies have undergone halving events. Some of these include:

Each of these cryptocurrencies has experienced significant price increases at various points in their existence. The extent to which these increases are directly attributable to halving events is debatable. It's more likely that their value has been positively influenced by Bitcoin's growth. Dogecoin, in particular, is a unique case, gaining popularity largely due to media attention rather than its technical merits or economic design.

Regardless, it's undeniable that halvings can lead to price increases in other cryptocurrencies as well, since they are associated with a reduction in supply. An alternative to halving is "burning," where a certain amount of cryptocurrency is permanently removed from circulation, effectively reducing the supply and potentially increasing the value of the remaining coins.

How many bitcoins are in circulation?

As mentioned above, the Bitcoin number is limited to 21 million. However, this does not mean that this amount will eventually be in circulation. On the contrary, due to the private wallets and high security regulations, there are numerous documented cases where numerous Bitcoin have been lost. It is almost impossible to recover them.

The largest wallet in this direction is attributed to the founder Satoshi Nakamoto, on which a million Bitcoin should be located. But there have been no movements there since 2012. If the owner is deceased, for example, there is a high probability that the Bitcoin will be irrevocably lost.

Caution: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been lost several times in the past. Protect your values especially well and consider reasonable security systems. The loss of your key can lead to the complete loss of your cryptocurrencies.

What does this mean now? The number of Bitcoin mentioned above represents the theoretically possible sum, but in reality there will be significantly fewer coins in circulation.

Is Bitcoin Becoming Digital Gold Due to Halving?

Bitcoin's increasing scarcity due to halving events, along with its price rising significantly over time, has led many to compare it to gold, a traditional store of value. Bitcoin also offers a degree of inflation protection. While its price can fluctuate during economic downturns, Bitcoin has consistently recovered and maintained its value over the long term, leading more investors to view it as a potential alternative to gold.

Indeed, Bitcoin could soon evolve into a form of digital gold. A slight increase in acceptance could push it over this threshold. However, it's important to remember that Bitcoin and gold have fundamental differences. They remain entirely distinct assets, and this will not change in the future.

How the Number of Bitcoins Could Influence the Economic Ecosystem

The limited supply of Bitcoin has contributed to its significant price increase over the years. This trend is likely to continue, potentially influencing the economic ecosystem. However, it's important to note that regulation could temper this development, at least in the short term. For example, investigations by entities like the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have already shaken the crypto world.

Regulation of Cryptocurrencies in Response to the Upcoming Halving?

It's no secret that cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly regulated, leading major exchanges like Binance to withdraw from many countries. The reasons behind these sudden regulatory efforts are debated, but many believe they are a response to the upcoming halving events. Governments may fear a surge in the popularity of cryptocurrencies, a concern that is not unfounded given the potential of digital currencies to significantly disrupt the financial world.

Bitcoin is undoubtedly the driving force of the crypto world. If Bitcoin's value rises, it is likely to affect the prices of many other cryptocurrencies. Some may gain substantial value and establish themselves in the financial market, potentially leading to the development of new financial products like decentralized finance platforms (DeFi).

FAQ: How many Bitcoin are there?

This question cannot be answered unequivocally with yes or no.

The price of Bitcoin has risen steadily over the past few years, but it has also had to put up with very sharp drops in between. However, if you look at the big picture, you can still see an obvious trend. However, this also applies to the stock market:

Future price developments cannot be inferred from past prices.

Bitcoin Chart

As a portal that is dedicated to Bitcoin and the entire field of cryptocurrencies, we are naturally very positive about the topic. Ultimately, however, all digital currencies are risky investments, which is why you should never invest more than you are prepared to lose.

Conclusion

The maximum number of Bitcoin that can ever exist is 21 million. So far, the community has managed to mine 18.9 million of them, with miners trying day and night to mine the remaining 2.1 million.

However, it is assumed that around 20% of all Bitcoins have already been irrecoverably lost. This can happen due to the loss of the private key or the death of an owner.

If you want to enter the mining business yourself, you should inform yourself in advance and be aware of the costs and risks.

Investing is an easier way to get Bitcoin quickly and profit from possible price increases. If you do not have the financial means to do so, the aforementioned no deposit bonus and faucets are a risk-free option.

Kai Vollmer Author
Crypto Expert

Kai is a crypto guru at BTCasino.info, specializing in cryptocurrencies and financial technologies, who promotes the understanding and safe use of digital currencies through his extensive knowledge and practical advice.

Last updated on 01/07/2024 um 9:39 p.m.