The maximum number of Bitcoins that can be mined is 21 million. Limitation is the chief characteristic of bitcoin. Virtually everyone with cash around the world wants to try their hand in bitcoins.
Given that the mining of bitcoins has been capped at 21 million, it means that a time shall come when the mining will be depleted, unless, as many suggest, the bitcoin reinvents itself and evolve as a Cryptocurrency in future.
It is important to note that every 10 minutes, new bitcoins are added to the chain. Usually, 10 minutes is the approximate time that it takes to create a new bitcoin blockchain. The mining of Bitcoins has been left the secret of the few around the world. Many who have invested in cryptocurrency are on a transaction basis.
Will the mining of bitcoins reach 21 million?
Analysts in the sector say the mining of bitcoins will most likely not hit 21 million. This is because operators use “rounding” in the bitcoin codebase where they round some decimal points down to the smallest integer.
By January this year, about 18.9 million Bitcoins had already been mined and issued. This leaves about 2.1 million Bitcoins yet to be mined.
Analyst say that because of the rounding down of the bitcoins decimals in what is known as Satoshis, the actual number of bitcoins might fall slightly below 21 million.
Even if the mining of Bitcoins will hit the 21-million-mark, the current investors have nothing to worry unless they are planning to live forever because the last bitcoin is expected to be mined by the year 2140.
But what happens when all the 21 million Bitcoins are mined?
Let us say the mining of bitcoins hits 21 millions, what will happen?
No new bitcoins will be issued. However, Bitcoins will continue being pooled into blocks and miners will continue being rewarded, but this time through the transaction fees.
Bitcoin reaching its upper supply limit is likely to affect Bitcoin miners, but how they are affected depends in part on how Bitcoin evolves as a cryptocurrency.
If the Bitcoin blockchain in 2140 processes many transactions, then Bitcoin miners may still be able to generate profits from only transaction processing fees.
It is important to note that Bitcoin ecosystem is still developing, making it possible if not likely that Bitcoin itself will continue to evolve over the coming decades.
But however Bitcoin evolves, no new bitcoins will be released after the 21-million coin limit is reached and that is just it.