When Will the Last Bitcoin Be Mined?
As of today, there are 19 million bitcoins in total, but the supply of bitcoins is limited and cannot exceed 21 million. In the same bitcoin software protocol and its software part, it is laid down that all new incoming transaction blocks are recorded in the blockchain approximately every 10 minutes. Thus, you can calculate how many blocks are recorded, for example, per hour.
And it turns out that in 60 minutes, approximately six blocks will be recorded, and 144 per day. It is also designed in such a way that every 210 thousand blocks of transactions recorded in the blockchain, the reward for miners is halved. That is, Bitcoin has a certain 4-year mining cycle. It is also called halving. It takes 1,458 days or about 4 years to record this amount (210 thousand) blocks.
For you to understand:
- in the first 4 years since the existence of bitcoin (2009), 10.5 million bitcoins were mined;
- for the second 4 years, another 5,250,000 bitcoins;
- in total, for the first 8 years, approximately 15 million 750 thousand bitcoins were mined.
In What Year Exactly Will the Last Bitcoin Be Mined?
For a quick calculation, it would be best if we start counting from the end since the smallest reward (to the miners) cannot be less than one Satoshi (0.00000001). And this tells us that at least 210,000 Satoshi will be mined. All this can be calculated using the equation: 0,00210000×2k > 10500000. It remains to calculate k — the number of 4-year cycles of Bitcoin.
Therefore, the last Satoshi will be mined in 2140 (22nd century). And the last block will be under the following number: 6.929.999. Note that in the first 7 four-year cycles (28 years) or by 2036, more than 99% of bitcoins will be mined. Since the remaining cycles account for only 1/128 part of the total amount of Bitcoin. As you can see, less than 1% of bitcoins will be mined for more than 100 years.
- After every four flight cycles, the reward is halved (respectively, the value of bitcoin increases);
- In reality, the number of bitcoins is much less since many have long (and still) lost access to their wallets (but there are also hacks of exchanges, exchangers, etc., where users buy cryptocurrency, exchange cryptocurrency, and their bitcoins are stored).
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The Future of Mining
As is stated in numerous cryptocurrency overviews, the completion of bitcoin mining will not happen soon. The mining of the first cryptocurrency will not die for many years after the mining of all bitcoins since the complexity of the network will grow in proportion to the number of miners. To do this, the Bitcoin blockchain provides a mechanism for recalculating the complexity, which is activated every two weeks.
The complexity of the network determines the amount of computing power required to find a new block in the bitcoin blockchain. This setting changes every 2016 blocks or roughly every two weeks. This is necessary to keep the block time around 10 minutes.
The halving of the reward for a mined block occurs every four years:
- initially, miners received 50 bitcoins,
- in 2012 this amount decreased to 25 coins,
- in 2016 — to 12.5,
- on May 11, 2020, it was reduced to 6.25 bitcoins.
The next halving is expected to take place in 2024.
As the network grows and the number of transactions increases, the fees for these transactions rise. The commission for one mined block is already from 0.25 to 3 bitcoins (depending on the load on the blockchain). After mining the last block, miners will receive exactly these commissions as a reward for their work, so mining cannot stop being profitable for miners.
In the future, fees on the bitcoin network will increase if the cryptocurrency is used everywhere for transnational payments, and the block reward will gradually disappear. The creator of the first cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto, assumed just such a model for the development of bitcoin.
In the future, miners may start charging extra for speeding up transactions, or there will be some way to re-mine already lost bitcoins.
Miners will not work in the red because without them, the network and transactions are impossible. After mining all the bitcoins, there will be an increase in transaction fees. The calculation will be performed by market mechanisms — how much the sender is willing to pay and how much the miner is ready to include this transaction in the block — between these two indicators.
When the reward to miners for a mined block becomes less than one bitcoin, a super cycle of growth in its price can occur. Such a decrease in the block reward will provoke a rise in the price of bitcoin to $1 million USA/EN. This could happen as early as the next decade.