What happens when all the BTC has been mined?

Vladlena Martus 2022-10-27

What happens when all the BTC has been mined?

They say Bitcoin is very mysterious. And it is true. Bitcoin mining will end because Bitcoin has a finite number of coins – about 21 million. What will happen after the last Bitcoin is mined… let's find out in the new Wisebitcoin blog.

The blog you are about to read contains information that should not be taken as an action or a call to action. We only share with readers exciting news and events from the world of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies are risky assets, so be careful when trading or investing.

How many Bitcoins in total can be mined?  

In general, there are 21 million BTC that can be mined and exist in our world. As of the 1st of September, 2022, there are over 19,139,256 BTC currently mined. However, this amount changes approximately every 10 minutes because the new blocks are released at that speed.

The total flow of new coins is halved every four years. It has been said that the last Bitcoin is expected to be mined in 2140, and after that, no further Bitcoins will be mined, which is hardcoded into the Bitcoin blockchain algorithm. Other experts and analytic opinions don't confirm this. The latter supposes that Bitcoin will be mined even earlier than 2140 in our 21st century.  

The halving process occurs every three years, roughly four years, and reduces the number of Bitcoins available in circulation by half. Some experts say it's not even 2140, but it's the end of 2078 when all of the 21 million Bitcoins will have been mined. Thus, it will no longer be possible to mine Bitcoins.

Let's head to the mining issue…what happens after the end of the BTC mining supply?

Bitcoin's popularity is undoubtful – many people still believe in the safety of this asset and try to be optimistic about any of the news released on the agenda.

That's true: many people believed in the "mooning" of the BTC a year and a half ago, when its price was really high for the asset without material objects to touch or see. However, the hopes were too unrealistic…at least for now, when the BTC rate is lower than it was almost a year ago, $20,105 for 1 BTC.

You must first consider the halving process when considering the Bitcoin mining bottom.

The concept of halving was made and introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto, the one and only creator of Bitcoin. We've already mentioned the history of Bitcoin development; you can read it if you haven't done it yet! 

Thus, the halving concept was created to ensure the gradual flow of Bitcoins and enforce synthetic price inflation until all Bitcoins are released. When the 210,000th block is mined, approximately every four years, the reward for the block mining is cut in half.

The halving is quite an important issue: it marks the drop in the rate of new Bitcoins produced as it approaches its finite supply. Halving reduces the amount of the new supply and increases the demand for the new coins.

In 2009 miners were rewarded with 50 Bitcoins for each block, after the first halving – 25, then – 12,5, and so on. The last halving was made on the 11th of May in 2020, and miners got 6.25 Bitcoins for one block.

This is what the halving scheme looks like:

The reward is halved → half the inflation → lower available supply → higher demand → higher price → miners' incentive remains, regardless of smaller rewards, as the value of Bitcoin is increased in the process

source: Investopedia Bitcoin Halving 

Another note to have: the price of Bitcoin rises significantly after the halving. The reward is reduced, and the supply is too. Thus, the producers of BTC need to adjust their selling price to their costs.

The main question of this blog: what happens when there are no more BTC left to mine?

Around 2078 (or even earlier), the last Bitcoin of the 21 million will be mined. Sounds like the beginning of an apocalypse…However, no. 

Of course, the halving will stop because no Bitcoins can be found anymore. Miners will be validating and confirming the new transactions on the blockchain because they will start collecting the transaction fees for the transaction process; the fees will rise in the future. This motivates miners to continue their work even after the total mining of Bitcoin.  

Interesting facts about the "trapped Bitcoins" and their holders

Not every Bitcoin that hard-working miners mined is actively used on the market. Many don't take an active part in the trading turnover for years! A significant amount of Bitcoins is lost, not used, or stored without access. 

Thus, you might want to know how many BTC are lost:

  • 3,709,302 BTC have been idle for 11 years, and not a single of it has been sent
  • Satoshi Nakamoto owns 1,100,000 BTC
  • 26,624 BTC is in wallet.dat files with lost or forgotten passwords
  • One of the BitcoinTalk users lost 8900 BTC
  • 7500 BTC were lost due to discarded hard drives; in 2021, the owner said he would pay about $71 million to whoever finds his hard drive
  • Stefan Thomas owns 7002 BTC on the self-destructing flash drive IronKey
  • 5000+ BTC is sent to burn addresses to "burn" the coins
  • 1000 BTC was lost due to the death of QuadrigaCX CEO
  • One of the Reddit users lost 533 BTC

Thus, about 4,865,861 BTC, more than $140 billion, are no longer in circulation, which is more than twice as much as miners have left to mine. This way, about 25.5% of all the BTC is lost forever. It is also interesting that 70% of these BTC come from the original miners and investors. 

Thus, you should be very attentive when you get, have, store or use BTC: if you lose your key to access the wallet, you will lose access to your purse permanently and forever! In addition, if you keep BTC in the online wallet, your funds may be lost in case the provider is lost first. It is also possible to lose Bitcoins if you commit an error while processing the transaction. 

So, Wisebitcoin wishes you great and careful BTC storage if you have one. Be attentive and think twice or more before you do something with your Bitcoin wallet. 

Follow our blogs for more curious articles because we try our best to explore more and more in the fields of the cryptocurrency market!

See you next time, your Wisebitcoin!