how much bitcoin is left to mine

How Much Bitcoin Is Left To Mine? Bitcoin Supply Mystery Unveiled

Bitcoin, being the most powerful cryptocurrency on the market right now, has evolved a lot since its emergence in 2009.

Currently, Bitcoin’s market cap is $1.21 trillion with a sheer 51.24% dominance over the crypto market.

As of May 13, 2024, Bitcoin prices hit roughly $62.901.45 per (BTC/ USD).

But how much Bitcoin is left to mine? And how many of them have already been released? 

Our extensive research shows, there are less than 1.4  million Bitcoins left, as of May 2024.

So, how long can you mine this most valuable digital asset since it doesn’t have an endless supply like fiat currencies?

Bitcoin, as Satoshi Nakamoto invented it with a finite supply cap, will reach its limit someday.

It gives birth to another most important question- when will it reach its hard cap?

Take a look ahead to get these answers in detail!

Key Takeaways

  • The total Bitcoin supply is capped at 21 million as coded in its protocol.
  • As of May 2024, more than 19.6 million BTC have been mined.
  • There are less than 1.4 million Bitcoins left to mine.
  • Around 93% of the total available Bitcoin is currently in use.
  • The block reward for each transaction is currently 6.25 BTC, and it is halved every four years by an event named Bitcoin Halving.
  • With the current halving schedule, the last Bitcoin will be mined by 2140.

What Is Bitcoin Mining? How Are They Minted?

Bitcoin mining refers to the process of creating new BTC tokens by validating and recording transactions on its underpinned technology, Blockchain

As per the crypto security protocol, not being controlled by a central authority, Bitcoin operates through a decentralized peer-to-peer network, leading the miners to solve complex cryptographic puzzles for adding a new block to the chain, by verifying new transactions.

Those who can solve the puzzle first are rewarded with freshly minted Bitcoins.

Each block within the network currently contains 14000-23000 transactions. A new block is added to Bitcoin’s ledger every 10 minutes, resulting in 144 new transaction blocks per day.

Apart from this, Bitcoins are also mined through transaction fees, paid by senders to prioritize their transactions.

When Bitcoins are exchanged within the network, miners get these fees as an incentive for grouping the transactions into blocks and adding the blocks to the chain.

However, the fee usually depends on the difficulty of the transaction. The more complex it is, the higher the fees are!

So, Bitcoins are mined in two ways-

  • Block Reward: Miners get newly minted coins by solving mathematical problems and adding blocks to the network. 
  • Transaction Fees: Collected from the existing Bitcoins to pay miners for validating transactions. 

Once there are no Bitcoins left to mine, transaction fees will be the only way for miners to keep the coin circulation on.

How Long Does It Take to Mine One Bitcoin?

Well, it depends on the amount of block rewards offered to the miners.

Currently, they get 6.25 Bitcoins per block and a new block is added every 10 minutes, approximately. So, nearly 0.625 coins are mined every minute. 

And if you do the simple math, it says one Bitcoin is mined every 1.6 minutes.

How Many Bitcoins Are Mined a Day?

As discussed above, 144 new blocks are added to the blockchain ledger per day. And the current flat rate for each block is 6.25 BTC. 

Thus, you can mine 144×6.25= 900 Bitcoins every day. 

Though the figure is changeable with time depending on the block rewards offered for validating transactions.

Moreover, factors like network hashing power, Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustments, mining equipment, etc. also contribute to the fluctuation of the BTC mining rate per day.

How Many Bitcoins Are There in Total?

The maximum number of Bitcoin that can ever exist is 21 million. 

This is because it’s hardcoded into the Blockchain protocol of Bitcoin and can never be changed.

Why is this limitation? To fuel its meteoric rise over the years.

In fact, Bitcoin’s underlying mechanism is its inherent scarcity, which makes it inflation-proof as opposed to fiat currencies.

How Many Bitcoins Have Been Mined?

Nearly 19.6 million BTC has already been mined since 2009. So, we are very close to reaching Bitcoin’s maximum supply limit.

How Much Bitcoin Is Left to Mine?

Out of the total capped supply of 21 million, nearly 19.6 million Bitcoins are already released and are currently in circulation. 

So, how many Bitcoins are left? Do the simple math and you will get the answer. 

Yes, approximately 1.4 million Bitcoin tokens are yet to be mined.

Despite differing figures in different sources, the number is more or less the same at the time of writing this article.

You can, however, visit CoinMarketCap, or other top crypto news sites to get real-time data regarding Bitcoin.

What’s Bitcoin Halving? A Detailed Breakdown 

Bitcoin halving, just like its name, halves the number of fresh Bitcoins issued per block, when 210,000 new blocks are produced within the network.

However, I already stated, 144 new blocks are added a day, remember?

So, it takes around 4 years to hit this set limit. And the reward for mining BTC is reduced to half every four years, known as the Halving event.

When Bitcoin debuted in 2009, the reward for validating each transaction block was 50 BTC.

As 3 more halving events occurred since then, in 2012, 2016, and 2020 respectively, it’s reduced to 6.25 Bitcoin tokens for each block mined.

The next projected Bitcoin halving is sometime in 2024.

After that, the new Bitcoin token release for each block will be cut in half, leading to a figure of 3.125.

It’s all because of delaying Bitcoin reaching its upper supply limit. 

Thanks to this underlying feature, Bitcoin circulation will grow more slowly to hit the 2100 million cap.

Thus Bitcoin halving aims at controlling inflation and maintaining the scarcity of BTC tokens over the years, due to which, there will be notable price surges resulting in a decrease in supply and an increase in demand.

history of bitcoin halving

When Will Bitcoin Reach Its Cap? Countdown to the Last Bitcoin Mining

With the current halving schedule, BTC miners will get block rewards till the year 2140, until the reward reaches zero. So, Bitcoin will reach its ultimate supply cap after 2140.

That’s great news for current Bitcoin investors, isn’t it? Wait, are you one of those?

Then rest easy as the last Bitcoin is not going to be minted during your lifetime! At least the recent crypto analysis says so.

Though the crypto market is gradually approaching to mining the last token of Bitcoin, there is still some time before it hits the hard cap.

The amount of the reward will be smaller and smaller though!

Once BTC reaches its maximum limit, no new token will be issued for mining new blocks.

How Many Bitcoins Are Lost?

A recent estimation shows that about 3-4 million BTC are lost forever.

But the exact figure is hard to track, as lost coins look exactly the same as the coins in circulation. 

However, you can define a Bitcoin as lost if it stays in the same address for way too long, as Dhruv Bansal explained here.

Practically, you cannot lose a BTC though. It will still be visible in the database.

So, it’s better to use the term “permanently locked” instead of lost.

It’s more like locking the coin in a box and losing the only key to the box.

If some Bitcoin owner loses the key to access their private wallet or passes away without sharing the access information, such things happen.

Therefore, locked Bitcoins can still be tracked but cannot be circulated. 

How Many Bitcoins Have Been Stolen?

Again, it’s challenging to track exactly how many BTC are stolen.

In February 2014, 850000 BTC, worth $470 million, were stolen from the Mt. Gox hack. In the history of cryptocurrency crime, it’s the biggest Bitcoin theft to date.

Around 120000 BTC was stolen from the Bitfinex exchange in 2016.

That sums up to 970000 BTC altogether which fell victim to crypto theft.

Point to be noted, stolen and lost Bitcoins are not the same. Lost BTC are non-recoverable and therefore, cannot be exchanged anymore.

While stolen BTC tokens are still circulating over the network, they might already be out of the original thieves’ control.

What Happens When All Bitcoins Are Mined?

After all the Bitcoins are released by 2140, there will no longer be any BTC token to be mined, nor any additional coin will be generated.

As a result, miners have to rely solely on transaction fees to keep the Bitcoin network going.

However, the transaction fees, being the only incentive offered to the miners, must be sufficient enough to make them continue their work for securing the Bitcoin network- that is opening new blocks through verifying transactions.

Once Bitcoin reaches the 2100 million hard cap, its future will likely rely on more than mining.

Is Bitcoin Mining Legal?

Depending on which country you are living in, the answer is both yes and no.

Countries like France, Finland, Germany, USA, Australia, Canada, etc. legalized Bitcoin transactions considering its widespread acceptance across the globe.

On the other hand, mining Bitcoin is either restricted or illegal in many parts of the world including China, Russia, Algeria, Ecuador, Bolivia, etc.

Summing Up

The Bitcoin ecosystem is still maturing, leading this digital currency to a continuous evolution in the upcoming years. 

Being deflationary in nature, it cannot be created at will, resulting in scarcity in supply. 

However, how much Bitcoin is left to mine, right now, is a matter of serious concern, especially for Bitcoin investors and dealers to plan their next moves.

Hopefully, you got the answer in this article through the facts and figures I mentioned. 

For more updates on the ever-growing crypto industry, stay tuned to our blog.

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Tamzid Ahmed
Tamzid Ahmed

A Blockchain specialist and SEO expert, crafting a digital impact. With over 800 blogs and collaborations with 100+ global clients, Tamzid continues to educate and inspire audiences worldwide on Blockchain and DeFi topics.

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