19 Million Bitcoin Have Been Mined, Only 2 Million Remain Unminted

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  • Bitcoin miners have crossed the 19 million threshold of minted Bitcoin, and only 2 million remain unminted, according to cryptocurrency publication Cointelegraph.
  • When Bitcoin's crypto code was launched in 2009, it was only programmed to generate 21 million coins using its proof-of-work (PoW) method to validate transactions.
  • Now less than 10% of that original allotment can be mined.

When the Bitcoin cryptocurrency software launched in 2009, it was preprogrammed to only ever mint 21 million coins. The 19th millionth coin was mined last week.

Bitcoin was originally conceived in a nine-page white paper published in 2008 by the pseudonymous author, Satoshi Nakimoto. It was intended and designed to be a peer-to-peer monetary system that gave individuals an alternative to government-issued fiat currencies. A year later, when Nakimoto mined the first Bitcoin cryptocurrency using the software he had written, based on the thesis of his white paper, the code was hardwired to only produce 21 million Bitcoin -- ever.

Since then, the 21 million deflationary supply cap has transformed perceptions of Bitcoin into a "store of value" and hedge against inflation similar to gold. Over the past 10 years, Bitcoin's limited supply enabled its annual price per coin to increase more than 230% per year -- outpacing any double-digit inflation of any government economy. Those incredible gains earned Bitcoin the title "asset of the decade."

More than 90% of all Bitcoin have been mined

According to Cointelegraph, Bitcoin miners have crossed the 19 million threshold of minted Bitcoin and only 2 million coins remain unminted. The article stated that -- according to the open Bitcoin blockchain that anyone can view -- the milestone Bitcoin was mined on Friday, April 1, in block 730002, by SBI Crypto, leaving only 2 million Bitcoin left to be minted.

Now you might think those remaining Bitcoin might be mined and circulating in a few years since they minted 19 million in just over a decade. However, due to insightful programming by Nakimoto at the launch, it'll be more than 110 years before the full 21 million is fully mined. That's because Bitcoin's creator built in a systematic choke mechanism to slow the number of Bitcoin mined as reward for proof-of-work (PoW) transaction validation.

The Bitcoin "halving" occurs every four years. It cuts in half the number of Bitcoin rewards a miner can earn by being first to verify a transaction on the blockchain using specially designed, high-capacity computer servers to solve a unique code linked to every transaction. The next reward halving will occur in 2024 and then 2028 and so on, until we reach the year 2140 when all those halving cycles will be exhausted and all 21 million Bitcoin will be minted.

Scarcity should drive Bitcoin's price higher in the future

Moving toward that date, basic economic theory tells us that as the supply of a desired asset decreases, demand will increase proportionately to maintain equilibrium or balance in the system -- which means the price of Bitcoin should increase with increasing demand.

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