Bitcoin has continued its hot streak, and the impending scarcity could buoy it. Cryptocurrency market tracker Blockchain revealed earlier today that miners have been able to extract 17.85 million units of Bitcoin. Essentially, this means that 85 percent of the total Bitcoin supply has already been mined, marking a new milestone for the most popular digital asset in the world.
This primarily means that given how the bloc rewards for mining Bitcoin seem to continue decreasing over time, it has been estimated that the remaining supply of Bitcoins should be mined in the year 2140. It is common knowledge that there can be no more than 21 million Bitcoins in circulation. If there have been 17.85 million units mined already, it means that we’ve got just 3.15 million units of the asset to go.
The currency block rewards is set at12.5 BTC for a single transaction, but the next Bitcoin halving, which is expected to occur on May 18, 2020, will see these rewards slashed to 6.25 BTC. Taking periodic halvings into consideration and the increased adoption of crypto assets, 2140 is the tentative year when Bitcoin mining as an activity will pretty much become non-existent.
Several crypto insiders have also reacted to the news of this recent mining milestone. A trading account known as Rhythm posted the announcement of the milestone earlier today on Twitter, adding that this only means an impending scarcity of the asset. More often than not, a scarcity means an increase in value, and for an asset like Bitcoin, it would most likely lead to a hike in the assets price as well.
Case and point; Bitcoin has seen a bit of a spike in the Bitcoin price, as the asset finally crossed the $10,000 mark a few hours ago (at press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap). The asset hasn’t reached that threshold since last Saturday (July 27), but the asset, which started the day trading in red, has now seen a 0.62 uptick in its price over the past day.
It might take a few days to see if this 85 percent milestone caused a push in its value, but it definitely wouldn’t be surprising if it did. It is also worth noting that while the current statistics show that there are 17.85 million Bitcoins in circulation, there are some which are inaccessible. For instance, market research and analysis firm Chainalysis revealed back in 2017 that there were about 4 million lost Bitcoins.
Then, there is the case of Canada-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX earlier this year, where exchange boss Gerard Cotton died, taking the access keys to the company’s hot wallets with him to the grave. At the time of Cotten’s death, the bitcoin wallets contained about $150 million in customers’ funds, and there’s a high probability that the vast majority of these were in Bitcoin. Those funds have remained locked away to this day.
The case can be made that a significant portion of the Bitcoins in circulation- perhaps even up to 30 or 40 percent- can’t be accessed.