The 17 millionth bitcoin has been mined!

17 million!

The 17 millionth bitcoin has been mined! About a year and a half after the 16 millionth bitcoin was mined. There will never be more than 21 million bitcoins, making 80% of all bitcoins that will ever exist in circulation with only four million bitcoins to go. 17 million bitcoins seems like a lot, but it’s not even enough if every Dutch person would like to have one – let alone every person on earth. Fortunately, each bitcoin can be divided into 100 million satoshis, making the total supply of satoshis 2.1 quadrillion. Enough to go around.

Not in our time

Before the last of these four million bitcoins has been mined, however, we are not a few years further, but more than a century. The last bitcoins will not be mined until around May 2140. Chances are that most of us will not live to see this day. Too bad, but at the same time fascinating to think about what role bitcoin will play in our society by then. It is another historic milestone and a reminder that bitcoin has succeeded in creating digital scarcity for the first time. Bitcoin is programmed to continue for a long time into the future, but it won’t just stop in 2140. At that point, the miners are compensated by the fees paid on transactions, instead of newly created bitcoins.

Every 10 minutes a new bitcoin block is found by the miners, in exchange for the work the miners do they receive a reward in the form of newly created bitcoins. In the beginning of bitcoin, 2009, this was 50 bitcoins per block. Every 210,000th block, this reward halves. This has already happened twice in the past, and we are now at 12.5 bitcoins per block. At the moment, about 1800 new bitcoins are being mined per day. The next halving will take place around May 2020. This halving will continue until the last bitcoin is mined, in 2140. Due to this halving, the issuance curve looks like this:

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