Bitcoin has just reached another milestone: its 19 millionth unit has already been mined. Upon reaching this milestone , there are only two million BTC remaining, which will be put into circulation from today until the year 2140, since as is public knowledge, the Bitcoin network follows a fixed emission schedule to reach the supply limit. Of 21 million. When that figure is reached, no more BTCs will be created
The milestone demonstrates how Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto was able to tie together decades of research in different areas of computing to achieve scarcity in the digital realm, a unique feature that is central to Bitcoin’s value proposition.
Currently, a miner receives 6.25 BTC as a reward for each closed block. This reward halves every 210,000 blocks roughly every four years since Nakamoto mined the first one, which yielded a 50 BTC reward.
Now, fewer and fewer new bitcoins are distributed each epoch, further increasing the scarcity of the asset. So while it has taken about a dozen years to mine 19 million bitcoins, the remaining 2 million won’t be minted until 2140 if the protocol continues business as usual.
Interestingly, the Bitcoin protocol’s 21 million supply cap is not written into its white paper or code.
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Rather, it is the shrinking number of bitcoins rewarded per block along with the decentralized network of computers that enforce that reward that allows the network to implicitly prevent the issuance of bitcoins over the limit.
Given the primordial scarcity of BTC, why has its price been trading in a range between $30,000 and $60,000 for the past year?
The price of Bitcoin in US dollars can be considered a lagging indicator of humanity’s understanding of the technology and its innovative value proposition.
Currently, only a small percentage of the world’s population really understands the unique concepts of programmatically decentralized and scarce money, so while the price of Bitcoin could trend towards infinity in the long run, that won’t become a reality until the largest part of the world’s population -or most of world capital-, begins to understand it.
When they do, a strong supply shock could ensue as an unlimited amount of money flows into a limited amount of bitcoin.
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