80% of all bitcoin that will ever exist have already entered circulation

The value of the cryptocurrency could shoot up even further as more and more coins are mined

Aatif Sulleyman
Tuesday 16 January 2018 01:14 GMT
What is Bitcoin and why is its price so high?

About 80 per cent of the total number of bitcoin in existence have reportedly already been mined.

There is a finite supply of bitcoin – 21 million altogether – and at least 16.8 million of those had already entered circulation as of 13 January, according to Bitcoin News.

That means roughly 4.2 million bitcoin are yet to be mined.

:: The Independent’s bitcoin group is the place for the best headlines and discussion of all cryptocurrencies. Like it here for the latest on how people are making money – and losing it

That’s a relatively low number, and as that figure decreases, competition for bitcoin could grow and it could become tougher to get your hands on the cryptocurrency.

That could, in turn, lead to its value shooting up even further than it already has.

What’s more, more than 3 million bitcoin are believed to have already been lost forever, with that number likely to grow as time goes on.

Bitcoin has no central bank and isn’t linked to or regulated by any state. The supply of the cryptocurrency is decentralised and can only be increased by a process known as mining.

For each bitcoin transaction, a computer owned by a bitcoin miner must solve a complex mathematical problem - something that requires huge amounts of processing power. The miner then receives a fraction of a bitcoin as a reward.

The reward for mining bitcoin is decreasing and will continue to decrease over time.

Miners currently receive 12.5 bitcoin for every block they mine, but that’s expected to fall to 6.25 bitcoin in around two years.

Interest in digital currencies has skyrocketed over recent months, thanks to bitcoin’s rapid rise in value.

As long as it doesn’t crash spectacularly – which is something that numerous financial experts believe will happen in the near future – demand for bitcoin could continue to grow.

We’ve teamed up with cryptocurrency trading platform eToro. Click here to get the latest Bitcoin rates and start trading. Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile unregulated investment product. No EU investor protection. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in