By Bill Taylor/Managing Editor – Going, going……..gone? We are talking Bitcoin and there are only 4 million left to mine. That’s right, the 17 millionth bitcoin was mined recently according to data supplied by Blockchain.info. Remember, by design, there can only be 21 million bitcoins that will EVER be available to be mined, thus keeping a cap on the total amount of bitcoins. So, how fast will those last remaining 4 million cryptos hit the market? Well, because of the rules dictating the mining process, it will take another 122 years. Yup, 122 years. Doing some quick calculations that means that over 80% of all bitcoins that will ever exist have already been mined and are out in the system.
So what, you say. Why does it matter? Well, economics 101 stresses that increased demand (and there is plenty for bitcoin) chasing a limited supply equals higher prices. That means that the eventual price of bitcoin is still to be determined and certainly creates a lot of debate. Of course there are a lot of skeptics predicting bitcoin is a bubble, fad, fraud and on its way to ZERO so, to be fair, there could be a complete drying up of demand. I would have gotten some fresh quotes from those “bitcoin bears” but they were all busy feeding their horses and polishing their buggies for a Sunday ride.
Seems like just yesterday, but remember the first bitcoins broke onto the scene back in 2009, almost ten years ago. But, only recently in the past few years has bitcoin caught investors’ eyes. While regulators are catching up to do their “policing” thing and new and established exchanges gear up to handle the anticipated institutional demand, the capped amount of available bitcoins will be shrinking. Oh yeah, an estimated 1 million (4.7%) of all bitcoins will never hit the market since they belong (for all eternity) to the founder (Satoshi….wherever he/she is), so get your bitcoin shorts back quick.
OK, 17 million bitcoins “out”, 4 million to go, daily increasing demand (Soros, Rockefeller, Goldman) and declining supply. Price predictions?