Of the total 21 million Bitcoin, just over 1.8 million remain to be mined.
Only 1.8 million Bitcoin to reach the maximum circulating supply
As is well known, Satoshi Nakamoto, in his now-famous paper with which he created Bitcoin, had stipulated that the maximum Bitcoin to be mined should not exceed 21 million units, as a way to combat inflation thanks to the scarcity of the asset.
FUN FACT: 1,885,100 #BTC left to be mined.
— Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) August 7, 2022
According to the latest estimates there would still be just under 2 million left to be mined, 1,885,100 to be exact (as of December 2021 there were 2.3 million and as of April 2022 there were 2 million). This means that the total of 21 million will most likely be reached before the scheduled natural deadline, which was supposed to be around 2140.
Once this milestone is reached, miners will no longer be rewarded for their mining activity, but only through transaction costs.
According to Cryptoquant, the month of July would see record Bitcoin sales by miners, who would be offloading their positions to evidently cover the ever-increasing costs of their activity. On 16 July, miners reportedly sold about 14,000 BTC in a single day, worth about $300 million.
Citygroup analyst Joseph Ayoub wrote in a note on 5 July:
“Given rising electricity costs, and bitcoin’s steep price decline, the cost of mining a bitcoin may be higher than its price for some miners. With high-profile reports of resignations from mining companies, as well as miners that have used their equipment as collateral to borrow money, the bitcoin mining industry could be under growing pressure”.
The future of the crypto queen
What will really happen when the last Bitcoin is mined? Clearly, mining will no longer exist and miners’ earnings will simply be determined by transaction costs.
This could lead to a concentration of miners who can control the market and impose higher transactions, or, according to others, the groups could also hide new valid blocks and then release them as unconfirmed blocks from the network, to lengthen the time frame and ensure higher fees once the blocks are released.
In short, the scenarios could undermine the spirit that led to the creation of the digital currency, which was supposed to free the financial system from the controls operated by centralized authorities, which have often caused the most serious financial crises of the century, such as the one in 2008, from the ashes of which the very idea of creating an independent and totally disintermediated free currency was born.