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17 million bitcoins, 4 million to go
17 million bitcoins, 4 million to go
Bitcoin

17 million bitcoins, 4 million to go

By Rossana Prezioso - 15 May 2018

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In a couple of hours, the 17 millionth Bitcoin will be extracted, an impressive number but that many may not give enough importance to.

Probably because it’s been more or less 10 years since the first bitcoin was mined.

According to the explicit will of its legendary creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, it is not possible to extract more than 21 million bitcoins.

From here it is easy to understand how the limited offer is becoming more and more scarce.

In other words, there is still only one-fifth of the total possible offer for miners and prospective buyers.

And it is an increasingly expensive offer even in the extraction process.

Also, for this reason, Bitcoin could find new fascination not only among investors but also among those who extract the virtual currency.

When will it happen?

In theory, it is very difficult, if not impossible to predict who will be able to extract the 17 millionth bitcoin.

And it’s hard to tell when it will happen accurately.

Supposedly it should happen in the next few hours since every bitcoin block produces 12.5 new coins every 10 minutes, which suggests the daily creation of 1,800 new bitcoins.

Should the protocol remain the same, which is very likely, it is forecastable that the extraction of the last Bitcoin will happen in May 2140.

Jameson Lopp, chief-engineer for the wallet provider Casa, reminded CoinDesk that Bitcoins are divisible (each Bitcoin is divided into 100 million satoshis) and that, the smaller parts of each Bitcoin can reach a potentially infinite value.

The Blockchain

The main feature of the virtual currency is the fact that, instead of being emitted by a central bank, it is created by a complex blockchain network which manages to guarantee the transparency of operations and, at the same time, maximum privacy.

It is precisely the logic of the technology at the base of Bitcoin that is increasingly appreciated by Governments and financial institutions, now openly in favor of the application, on a large scale, of blockchain technology.

But in light of this, it has to be asked: what will happen to the extraction of the last bitcoin?

An open question since the cryptocurrency’s creation protocol will not stop working. But this is a problem that will arise in more than 100 years.

Rossana Prezioso
Rossana Prezioso

Passionate about the new frontiers of online publishing, she decided to further deepen her knowledge by dedicating herself to the study of cultural and economic changes derived from the emergence of hi-tech finance, developing the themes concerning new business models related to it and the geopolitical influences of the new cryptocurrency economy.

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