Sometime between the 25th and the 26th of April 2018, the 17 millionth Bitcoin was mined. The number of Bitcoins mined crossed yet another million milestone – a significant milestone, considering the last time this happened was back in November 2016.
What Does This Mean For Bitcoin?
To understand why this is such an important milestone for Bitcoin, one would have to understand the Bitcoin supply curve. Ever since the second Bitcoin ‘halving’ occurred in July 2016, the number of Bitcoins produced per block (AKA the block reward) has been reduced to 12.5 BTC. Since a new Bitcoin block is produced every 10 minutes, this means that on an average day, approximately 1,800 new Bitcoins are minted.
This hasn’t always been the case, however.
Back in January 3, 2009, when the first-ever Bitcoin was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, the block reward was 50 BTC. Therefore, at that point in time, 7,200 new Bitcoins were mined every day. In other words, the number of Bitcoins mined on a daily basis will keep decreasing by 50% every 4 years or so, meaning that the last fraction of a Bitcoin will not be mined until May 2140.
Breaking the 17 million BTC barrier can be interpreted in many different ways by various communities. To some, this event is considered a “psychological barrier”, as there is currently less than 20 percent of the total supply of Bitcoin remaining for future buyers/miners.
In an interview with Coindesk, Tetras Capital founding partner Alex Sunnarborg pointed out that over 80 percent of all the Bitcoin that will ever exist has already been mined.
On the other hand, this important milestone can also be viewed as a critical turning point for Bitcoin, as the technology behind the first ever cryptocurrency is ripe for appreciation. Tim Draper, one of the world’s most successful venture capitalists who also happened to purchase 30,000 bitcoins in a 2014 U.S. Marshals Service auction, has a rather optimistic view on the milestone.
“I think it’s awesome…I would bet the founders wouldn’t have imagined how important bitcoin would become in their wildest dreams.”
Nonetheless, this event certainly highlights the scarcity of Bitcoin and its limited supply. To put that into perspective, Jameson Lopp, lead infrastructure engineer at wallet provider Casa, drew an interesting comparison between the number of Bitcoins that currently exist with the number of millionaires in the world.
“While 17 million BTC may sound like a lot, it’s incredibly scarce – there won’t even be enough for every current millionaire to own a whole bitcoin. Thankfully, each bitcoin is divisible into 100 million satoshis, thus there will always be plenty to go around!”
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