Global miners have generated 90% of all obtainable bitcoin, according to figures revealed by a blockchain data tracker on Monday. That means 18.89 million bitcoins have been mined so far of a maximum total of 21 million.
The first bitcoins ever were mined back in January 2009, and it took around 12 years to reach the latest milestone. However, the remaining supply is expected to be mined only by February 2140, Blockchain.com reports, citing network activity estimates and bitcoin’s halving schedules.
The price of the world’s first digital asset has clearly reflected the increasing supply over the past 12 years, as demand for newer bitcoins kept heating up. The cryptocurrency was trading at less than $0.10 when 10% of the entire supply got to the open markets in early 2010. It surged to more than $7.50 when 50% of the supply was mined in December 2012.
The cryptocurrency was trading at $48,746 as of 10:06am GMT on Monday, having dropped more than 28% from its peak of $69,000 reached earlier this year, according to data tracked by Coindesk.
The process of creating bitcoin, or so-called mining, is performed using sophisticated hardware that solves millions of extremely complex computational tasks on the bitcoin network each second. Participants of the process, who provide their computing resources and hardware, receive bitcoin as ‘rewards’, and are commonly called miners.
Miners currently receive 6.25 bitcoin for each block they manage to mine, which would reportedly drop to 3.125 bitcoin after the next halving in 2024.
However, not all of the 21 million tokens are expected to be available on the open market. Some 3.7 million bitcoins have reportedly been ‘lost’ for various reasons, including the loss of private keys or the deaths of owners, according to estimates by analysts at Chainalysis. Another million bitcoins are reportedly held by the mysterious creator of the cryptocurrency, whose pseudonym is Satoshi Nakamoto.
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