There seems to be a general consensus that even Satoshi could not in his wildest dreams have anticipated the tremendous impacts Bitcoin has had on the global economy especially in such a short time period. It remains true, though, that the founding principles behind the first and alpha cryptocurrency is among the reasons why it has had such tremendous impact. One of those core principles is the principle of limited supply. There is a fixed amount of Bitcoins that could ever be in circulation. Satoshi created a total of 21 million Bitcoins. Another masterstroke on his part was the decision to release the coins as a reward to the geeks that are constantly updating the blockchain data aka miners.
A brief history of mining
Satoshi was the first person ever to mine Bitcoins and he got a reward of 50 BTC. Since then, mining has evolved greatly into the very complex and energy demanding process it has become today. Still, there are thousands of miners looking to crack the next block and get their reward. After every 210,000 blocks, the reward for mining is reduced by a half via a hard-coded schedule. The implication of this is that it takes even more time to mine the limited amount of Bitcoins left. At the current rate and assuming the halving protocol remains the same, the 21th million Bitcoin may not be mined until the year 2140.
What 17million implies
The sixteenth million Bitcoin was mined sometimes in 2016. The seventeenth million Bitcoin would be mined before the end of April 2018. This is the longest it has taken to reach the new million and it is expected to take even longer moving forward. If this is examined on the surface, the mining of the 17th million BTC means there is more of the currency in circulation. If a cursory look is taken, however, the milestone means that the already limited supply of Bitcoins has become even more limited. As more progress is made, moving forward becomes even harder and the present owners of the cryptocurrency would be none the wiser by refusing to let it go. On a much larger scale, however, the milestone is a reminder of the importance of blockchain technology in creating digital scarcity through shared software.
Where to go now?
As more people keep appreciating the importance of this technology, demand for it would naturally rise. And while 17 million seems like a very large number, the BTC is quite scarce relative to the demand. It won’t even go round if every current millionaire in the world wishes to own one Bitcoin. The currency is predicted to bank on its divisibility in the coming years. Since Bitcoin can be divided into many Satoshis, it is still expected to go round in Bits for those that wish to own.
The question about what happens after the 21th million Bitcoins I mined have been raised. Would the entry of transaction data about the currency come to a halt in the absence of rewards? The current idea is that when Bitcoin gets to that point, miners would be given monetary rewards but the sustainability of this proposed system has been questioned.
Each passing day, it remains harder to doubt the fact that the Bitcoin has come to stay. That discussions about what could happen after 2140 could even come up at all is only a testament to how far the Bitcoin has come and how far it has to go.
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