With only three million more coins to go, it might appear like we are in the final stages of bitcoin mining. This is true but in a limited sense. While it is true that the large majority of bitcoin has already been mined, the timeline is more complicated than that. The bitcoin mining process rewards miners with a chunk of bitcoin upon successful verification of a block.
This process adapts over time. When bitcoin first launched, the reward was 50 bitcoin. In , it halved to 25 bitcoin. In , it halved again to On May 11, , the reward halved again to 6. This effectively lowers Bitcoin's inflation rate in half every four years.
The reward will continue to halve every four years until the final bitcoin has been mined. In actuality, the final bitcoin is unlikely to be mined until around the year However, it's possible the bitcoin network protocol will be changed between now and then. The bitcoin mining process provides bitcoin rewards to miners, but the reward size is decreased periodically to control the circulation of new tokens.
It may seem that the group of individuals most directly affected by the limit of the bitcoin supply will be the bitcoin miners themselves. Some detractors of the protocol claim that miners will be forced away from the block rewards they receive for their work once the bitcoin supply has reached 21 million in circulation. But even when the last bitcoin has been produced, miners will likely continue to actively and competitively participate and validate new transactions.
The reason is that every bitcoin transaction has a transaction fee attached to it. These fees, while today representing a few hundred dollars per block, could potentially rise to many thousands of dollars per block, especially as the number of transactions on the blockchain grows and as the price of a bitcoin rises.
Ultimately, it will function like a closed economy , where transaction fees are assessed much like taxes. It's worth noting that it is projected to take more than years before the bitcoin network mines its very last token. In actuality, as the year approaches, miners will likely spend years receiving rewards that are actually just tiny portions of the final bitcoin to be mined.
The dramatic decrease in reward size may mean that the mining process will shift entirely well before the deadline. It's also important to keep in mind that the bitcoin network itself is likely to change significantly between now and then.
Considering how much has happened to bitcoin in just a decade, new protocols, new methods of recording and processing transactions, and any number of other factors may impact the mining process. Bitcoin Magazine. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. Part Of. Bitcoin Basics. Bitcoin Mining. How to Store Bitcoin. Bitcoin Exchanges. Bitcoin Advantages and Disadvantages.
Bitcoin vs. Other Cryptocurrencies. The python code above does not have this property. As per the current rules there will only ever be 21 million coins at most explained in other answers here. However, I'd like to add that this is by general agreement, which means that it can be changed.
See this question: Could there be hyperinflation in Bitcoin? Looking at the history of money, I am skeptical that there will only ever be 21 million coins. I don't know of too many instances in history when money could be created out of thin air and wasn't. It would be foolish to ignore history. Whether or not there will be more than 21 million coins depends on whether or not "the people" demand it, and once again history is our guide.
Therefore, anyone or any group that could change the limit is incentivized to not do so. I wrote a detailed analysis of the supply and inflation in Bitcoin, for those who are interested in the math behind it. Below is a formula expressing Bitcoin supply as a function of block height:. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. How many bitcoins will there eventually be?
Ask Question. Asked 9 years, 5 months ago. Active 2 years ago. Viewed k times. Improve this question. Add a comment. Active Oldest Votes. Improve this answer. Artefact2 Artefact2 1, 7 7 silver badges 6 6 bronze badges. Artefact, yes but that is not the theoretical limit Note that there are some assumptions built into the timing and unless the protocol is changed, they will actually be mined a bit earlier than this chart suggests. Or later--if the value drops precipitously and difficulty takes a while to get low enough again.
But the graph is a good rough approximation. I think that's very unlikely. Even if there are a few precipitous drops, I think that will be outweighed by the overall trend of increasing hashing power and they'll be followed be precipitous drops in difficulty.
But, yes, that is possible. I think saying "hard wired" is a bit misleading. The production schedule is coded in the software and could be changed to create more bitcoin. Fortunately anyone or any group that could change it is strongly incentivized to maintain the limit as it is integral to our idea of and trust in bitcoin. This is actually the right answer. Gregory - what does this mean in practical terms after ? Carefully note the date on that BIP. You should provide a little more details: are you talking of an integer overflow case?
Is this code located in the reference implementation or in a pull request proposed by a BIP, and which one? Is it a tracked bug? Manish Manish 1, 17 17 silver badges 31 31 bronze badges.
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