Bitcoin Passes New Milestone as Network Mines 85% of Its Total Supply

Bitcoin (BTC) now has 85% of its supply in circulation as of August 1, leaving just 3.15 million new coins for the next 120 years. 

3.15 million bitcoins, 120 years

According to data from monitoring resource Blockchain, Thursday saw Bitcoin miners extract the 17,850,000th unit as part of the transaction validation process. 

As a result, due to the number of coins awarded to miners per block decreasing over time, the remaining supply will only be unlocked in the year 2140. Bitcoin has a total fixed supply of 21 million units. 

Bitcoins in circulation

Bitcoins in circulation. Source: Blockchain

“Scarcity is about to kick in,” the crypto trading account known as Rhythm on Twitter commented on the event. 

The current Bitcoin supply means only a maximum of 17,850,000 people can own an entire coin. In reality, however, some of the existing mined supply is not in circulation and never will be, as users lose access to private keys. 

Estimates, such as those from blockchain research firm Chainalysis in 2017, have put the proportion of these lost coins at up to 4 million — or over 20% of the total supply. 

Bitcoin mining competition heats up

Looking forward, May 2020 will see the next reduction in miner payouts — from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block — an event which analysts consistently state will produce Bi