Miners reached another breakthrough as the 17 millionth unit of BTC has been mined on April 26, according to the Blockchain.info data. This is indeed a historical moment as there are in total only 21 million BTC units of possible to be mined.
The fact that 81% of all bitcoins have been already generated means that the BTC supply is going to get even more limited, and, probably, the cost of the remaining coins is going to skyrocket – due to their scarcity.
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Things in the bitcoin-realm are indeed going fast. To imagine the scope, here’s a fact: the first million of bitcoins was mined just in mid-2016.
History in The Making
This week Thursday, 17-millionth unit of BTC was generated since the first one was mined nine years ago. It occurred on the block 519,996, and it was the mining pool BTC.com which mined the "jubilee" coin.
Before this happened, nobody could have presumed who would mine the unit and at which particular time it would happen. That is because of many minute discrepancies that appear in retaining common software synchronized.
Despite the fact that there is comparative foreseeability, it was still not easy as daily there are generated 1,800 novel units of BTC when on each block every 10 mins there are mined 12.5 new units.
Anyway, from now on there is only 1/5 of all bitcoins remains to be mined.
Tim Draper, a VC tycoon and a billionaire who recently claimed that bitcoin’s price would skyrocket to the margin of $250,000 in four years, told Coindesk that the generation of the 17-millionth BTC unit is “awesome.”
Draper is also an early bitcoin investor, and in 2014 he purchased 30,000 units of this currency. Therefore, now his net worth is estimated to be $268 million.
He also said of the milestone:
"I would bet the founders wouldn't have imagined how important bitcoin would become in their wildest dreams."
The Change Is Coming
The way the miners are rewarded has always been different. The first 50 units of BTC appeared after the creator of this currency Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first block ar the dawn of 2009. This reward remained for the following 209,999 blocks till the time when the shortening of it, called “halvening,” took place.
After that, every 210,000 blocks the net decreases the remuneration by 50%. The last halvening occurred in July 2016, so the prize is 12.5 units of BTC for miners.
You may wonder: “So does it mean that there will be fewer bitcoins mined?” The answer is: “Yes.”
The thing is that the net won’t get close to the final supply (there are 4 million BTC pieces left) even in nine years, as this has happened before. Because the cuttings shorten (halven), the rate supply increase slows down.
The Future of Bitcoin
If the protocol of bitcoin prevails untouched (the reverse is unlikely to happen nowadays), the last unit of BTC will be mined not earlier than in May 2140.
So as we can see, bitcoin has been programmed to run for pretty long time. It is remarkable that bitcoins are partible and even smallest fractions of them can store outwardly endless value. That’s what the top infrastructure engineer at Casa, the wallet provider,– Jameson Lopp – thinks on the issue:
"While 17 million BTC may sound like a lot, it's incredibly scarce – there won't even be enough for every current millionaire to own a whole bitcoin. Thankfully, each bitcoin is divisible into 100 million satoshis, thus there will always be plenty to go around!"
In spite of anything, it is questionable whether there will be 21 million of BTC units generated ever due to math inconsistencies – miners just will never get the full reward for their job no matter how good it would be.