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What Happens to Bitcoin After All 21 Million Are Mined?

March 12, 2024

Quick Summary

Ever since its launch, Bitcoin—the original cryptocurrency—has drawn the interest of both supporters and critics. However, the main characteristic that distinguishes Bitcoin from other cryptocurrencies is its limited supply. There is a limit of 21 million Bitcoins that will ever be in circulation.

An interesting question is brought up as the supply gets closer to this cap and mining keeps going on: What happens to Bitcoin once all 21 million of it are mined? In this blog post, we will explore the possible outcomes and aftermath of this milestone.

Table of Contents

    An Overview of Bitcoin Mining

    The process of creating new Bitcoins and adding transactions to the blockchain—a public ledger—is called Bitcoin mining. It is essential to the functioning of the Bitcoin network as well as to keep the security of the Bitcoin network. New bitcoins are created via mining, which also verifies fresh transactions against the network that holds Bitcoin.

    On the Bitcoin network, transactions are computationally validated before being added to the blockchain ledger. To confirm that transaction blocks generated on the decentralized platform are correct, solving intricate cryptographic hash puzzles is a requirement.

    After receiving a set of transaction data, miners apply a cryptographic algorithm to produce a unique hash. The hash detects manipulation when any detail is altered. Every block contains the hash of the previous block, so changes are easily visible.

    Historical background on the Limited supply of Bitcoin

    The unknown Satoshi Nakamoto is the man behind the Bitcoin network. No one knows much about him, but his efforts in the Bitcoin mining landscape are worth appreciating. In the world of Bitcoin, his identity remains one of the greatest mysteries. Still, we can determine what he desired from the network based on how the Bitcoin Blockchain was implemented.

    The goal of the Bitcoin network was to develop a digital currency that would be the antithesis of fiat money, as outlined in his well-known whitepaper. As the world economy was still recovering from the catastrophic 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin (BTC) had to be totally decentralized and unaffected by banks or other centralized authorities. It also had to be inflation-resistant.

    Nakamoto included a set amount of BTC into the network’s program to prevent rising prices. BTC is a scarce asset due to its limited supply, which may eventually cause its price to rise. There will only be 21 million bitcoins in circulation, and they will be created at a set rate to guarantee a constant flow of liquidity. At one moment only one new block is mined and so new bitcoins come into existence.

    Additionally, Nakamoto included a feature that reduces the amount of bitcoins produced by half every four years for each block. When the first block was added in 2009, miners would get paid 50 bitcoins. It decreased to 25 bitcoins after four years, and the cycle will keep going until there are no more bitcoins available for mining. Around 1,348,775 Million Bitcoins are left to mine out of all the 21 Million Bitcoins in existence.

    How much time does it take to mine one Bitcoin?

    The amount of time required to mine a single bitcoin is determined by your percentage of the network’s total processing power. You will earn bitcoin more quickly the more significant your share is.

    Instead of mining in a continuous stream, bitcoin is mined in blocks. A miner generates a block, which rewards them with new bitcoin roughly every ten minutes. The previous mining work does not advance a miner toward mining a block, mining is a random or unpredictable procedure that is more like a game of chance than a building project.

    It would take a long time for an individual miner using a single ASIC or computer to mine the entire bitcoin. There is intense competition for the remaining bitcoin supply that can be mined.

    The earnings of a Bitcoin mining process and the time required to mine a single Bitcoin are determined by a number of factors. Given the fluctuations of the price of bitcoin, the cost of energy, and the challenge of mining bitcoin, these factors can yield essential figures for the profits of a mining operation in terms of bitcoin; however, all of the calculations are fluctuating and uncertain.

    Effect on Bitcoin Mining landscape when all 21 Million Bitcoins will be mined

    No more Bitcoin will be created after the 21 million maximum supply is exhausted, even if the total quantity of coins in circulation eventually declines by a small amount. Bitcoin miners will still be paid, mainly in the form of transaction processing fees, and transactions will still be validated and compiled into blocks.

    It is anticipated that the final Bitcoin will be mined around 2140. The way that Bitcoin develops will determine how miners are affected when it reaches its maximum supply limit. Miners can still make money by imposing substantial amounts of money to process large volumes of transactions if Bitcoin is primarily used as an asset of value rather than for regular transactions.

    Every four years, the block reward is cut in half. It was cut in half to 25 bitcoins in 2012 and then to 12.5 in 2016. Miners can only make 6.25 bitcoin today for each new block. When the hard cap on supply is eventually accomplished, miners won’t be compensated with bitcoins for creating new blocks. They will then only be paid for their network participation through transaction fees.

    However, the cost of mining operations will eventually outweigh the rewards made by the miners because mining rewards are cut in half every four years. It may occur even prior to the fixed supply reaching its maximum supply.

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    Although Bitcoin has a bright future, it is difficult to predict what will happen to the cryptocurrency once all 21 million coins are in circulation. By then, miners should have established themselves and be ready for the next upcoming years. Even though a clear vision for Bitcoin appears today, things might turn out differently in practice due to the highly volatile market of Bitcoin.

    However, by keeping a keen watch on the emerging trends and the upcoming halving event with respect to the receiving rewards, the aftermath of Bitcoin reaching its final capitalization can be predicted.


    • Will the Bitcoins ever cross 21 Million?

      No, ever since the creation of Bitcoins, its maximum supply has been fixed. Therefore, it will never cross 21 Million.

    • When is Bitcoin expected to reach its maximum supply?

      It is expected to reach its maximum limit by 2140.

    • What is the expected BTC block reward after the upcoming Bitcoin Halving event 2024?

      In the upcoming Bitcoin halving event, the BTC block reward can reach 3.125 Bitcoins.