The main difference between bitcoin and fiat currencies is the limited issue. This feature of BTC gives it strong characteristics that prevent inflationary processes that devalue the currency. An important quality is especially attractive to investors in conditions when central banks print money without stopping.
Bitcoin was conceived by its creators as a decentralized hedging tool capable of countering an imperfect banking system. Now you can buy bitcoin unlimited, but a little more than 10 years ago, cryptocurrencies were not on the asset market. The need for a stable independent currency matured during the economic crisis of 2008.
The history of the invention of cryptocurrencies needs to be known to a novice investor, trader, miner so that he can say: "I understand that exist a digital asset on which I can earn." The creation, appearance, and development of cryptocurrency, in fact, lasted for several decades, and not since 2009, as many believe. The chronology of events in a simplified form looks like this:
The first Proof-of-Work system solved the problem of one-time HashCash coins. Reusable digital money was proposed by Hal Finney, but his project to create his own currency also failed. However, all these first practical attempts to create a cryptocurrency, which have been undertaken since 1990, helped invent bitcoin.
It is still not known who is hiding under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It is possible that this is a group of inventors, which consists of several people. In 2007, the idea of a decentralized blockchain and BTC version 1.0 digital coins was formed. The developers of the cryptocurrency, who created digital gold in 2009, limited the maximum supply. Thus, the goal of modeling a finite number of digital coins, modeled on the final extraction of physical gold, was achieved. The issue of the first cryptocurrency is limited to 21 million BTC.
There are fewer and fewer opportunities left for mining because every 10 minutes a new block of 6.25 BTC is added to the turnover. But the total number of digital coins in circulation is not equal to the sum of the historical number of mined assets. In order to find out how many bitcoins are left, let's look at why this happens.
In the blockchain, the digital coin in circulation looks exactly the same as the one that is lost forever. It is currently impossible to give an exact answer to the question of how many bitcoins are left in circulation. According to the latest approximate estimates, about 3-4 million mined BTC were finally lost. The calculation of the lost assets is based on the reasonable assumption that they remain for a very long time at the address without movement. This version is confirmed by reports in the media and social networks from the owners of digital money, who claim that they have lost the secret keys to large wallets.
The truth is that in fact BTC is not destroyed, like, for example, burnt paper money. In this situation, the loss of digital coins can be compared to gold bars locked in a safe, and the key to a very complex lock is destroyed forever. That is, the "lost" bitcoins currently exist locked in the wallets of their forgetful owners or deceased, without providing anyone with a key.
Stolen digital coins cannot be considered lost. In response to the question of how many bitcoins are left in circulation, analysts do not take into account this category of lost assets. For example, the digital money stolen in 2014 during the largest hacking of the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Mt.Gox is most likely in circulation. It is quite possible that the stolen money is no longer being disposed of by thieves, but by third parties. The investigation confirmed the involvement of criminals in schemes of laundering stolen money. Hacking became possible due to weak protection of access to cryptocurrency.
Presumably, more than 1 million people are engaged in the extraction of digital currency. To find out how many bitcoins are left in circulation, it is necessary to take into account the BTC that are in the pool intended for payment to miners. Exist a rule according to which, when creating a new block, part of the coins from this pool goes to the miner as a reward- Payments started with 50 BTC, and since then the amounts have decreased 3 times. The revision of the size of the reward towards a double reduction occurs every 210 thousand blocks, approximately every four years. Since May 2020, the reward is 6.75 BTC per block.
The rate of cryptocurrency mining is constantly decreasing. If today one bitcoin is mined in just over 1 minute, then in the future it will take several years for this operation. According to the general opinion of many experts, BTC mining will end in 2140. Then the offer will reach 21 million BTC and the mining fee will disappear. Most likely, at this time, the blockchain will process a very much number of transactions. Miners who will be left without their main job will be able to receive income from transaction processing fees. Cryptocurrency serves as a good means of saving and its value will grow in the long term. As of January 2022, a total of 18.95 million BTC or 90% of the total number of digital coins were issued. Thus, miners will have to issue approximately 2.05 million BTC.
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