On Wednesday, cryptocurrency enthusiasts announced on Twitter that the number of bitcoins dug up has exceeded 17.85 million. This means that 85% of the total of Bitcoin's 21 million has been dug up. Still, the remaining 15% will be slowly released in the next 100 years.
85% of Bitcoin has been dug up
A new block on the Bitcoin network represents the new currency being dug up, and new bitcoins are dug every 10 minutes. Currently, each block produces 12.5 bitcoins, but by May 2020, this number will be reduced to 6.25, which is “half”. The halving of the mining award is carried out every four years until each block produces only a small amount of bitcoin.
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Bitcoin creator Nakamoto has set this supply ceiling for his invention. Unless there is a hard fork to force a change in the total amount, the amount of Bitcoin in circulation will never exceed 21 million (interestingly, the actual number of Bitcoins is less than 21 million due to accidents such as losing money).
Nakamoto has never personally appeared to explain why he chose the figure of 21 million, and he did not explain the concept of supply cap. Therefore, there are many related guesses.
Interchange co-founder and former Uber founder Dan Held said that the supply cap was set because Nakamoto wanted to make Bitcoin a hedge.
Held said that Satoshi Nakamoto once talked about the status of Bitcoin's goods, so he believes that Nakamoto is more inclined to use the scarcity to give bitcoin value, making it a value-preserving item.
Held also believes that the Bitcoin program is a substitute for the bank, not the new version of Visa, so Nakamoto wrote the news headline at the time of the coinbase of the creation block. He believes that the total of 21 million, 10 minutes of block time, 1MB of blocks can support his point of view.
As for whether Nakamoto wants to make Bitcoin a hedging product or a payment tool, there are many related disputes. We may never be able to wait for Nakamoto's standard answer.
Bitcoin to change the total amount? Don't think about it
It is worth noting that some people have begun to discuss the issue of increasing the total amount of Bitcoin. According to Babbitt , this year at the mysterious Nakamoto Satoshi round table, participants discussed the possibility of increasing the total amount.
Information about the conference was very limited, and even the list of participants was unknown, somewhere in Mexico. However, Fold's Matt Luongo's post on Twitter shows that someone has raised questions about the viability of deflated Bitcoin.
Luongo explained that the bitcoin economy may become “unstable” when most of the miners’ income comes from transaction fees. He said that with fewer and fewer transactions on Bitcoin layer-1 (a protocol layer other than lightning networks and sidechains), the Bitcoin backbone is vulnerable to block reorganization.
Therefore, he mentioned the possibility of lifting the long-standing supply restrictions of the BTC, “allowing the Bitcoin blockchain to be safe at the expense of all holders”.
However, this proposal has always stayed at the proposed stage, and the Bitcoin community will not allow such things to happen.