TWe have all heard that the total amount of bitcoin is limited to an issue of 21 million coins. We have seen it in many articles that are dedicated to explaining in a simple way how Bitcoin works.
However at this point it is worth asking, How true is this? ¿What is what really guarantees such a limited amount of bitcoins? How long will it be until the total issue? What will happen after its full emission, will I be able to buying bitcoins? These questions are completely valid at this point and in this article we will examine them along with other interesting facts about the issuance of bitcoins.
How much is the actual and total issue of bitcoin?
When Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to Bitcoin technology, many were amazed at its creation. In particular, because of the decentralized economic system so well achieved that it supported this cryptocurrency. Given the decentralized economic nature of Bitcoin, Nakamoto designed a controlled currency issuance system. This issuance system is designed to allow fully autonomous controlled currency inflation. No one intervenes in it, the only thing that controls it is a piece of computer code whose instructions are the absolute Law. In fact, as time passes, Bitcoin tends to deflation.
This system maintains a marked balance between different actors within Bitcoin. Going through work and time mining is., the difficulty of it, the total mining power of the network, the compensation received for each block and the total circulation of coins. All of this is controlled autonomously by the Bitcoin operating protocol designed by Nakamoto. In that sense, the controlled issuance of Bitcoin is scheduled to become "very close" of the 21 million Bitcoins, but it will not reach that exact amount. Hence, many people questionHow many Bitcoins are left to mine?.
To see this in more detail and understand it, let's look at the following box:
It is interesting to have some perspective on what the evolution of Bitcoin will be in the future to understand its value. In the following table you have the true initial forecast of bitcoin issuance up to the thirty-fourth halving:
What does the issuance of bitcoins guarantee?
As we mentioned before the total issue of Bitcoin it is a feature that is integrated in the programming of the same. Thus it was created and thus it has remained throughout this time. The current Bitcoin developers have been careful and clear not to alter this. Well, altering it means making a hard fork of Bitcoin with all the problems and situations that it represents. At this point, the Bitcoin development community has been declared many times as “purist" or "extremist". But the truth is that they have wanted to keep the original spirit of Bitcoin along with its specifications.
For example, improvements like followed o Lightning Network improve the scalability and security of the system, but do not break this economic balance. We can say then, that the guarantee of the total issue of Bitcoin is not only in the code, but also in the community. A very active community that lives in the Bitcoin ecosystem and sustains it around the world. A community that agrees with the system and protects it. Any change in the issuance of coins by any of the parties, would break said balance and all confidence. This would inevitably translate into the weakening and even the fall of Bitcoin. An undesirable ultimate situation on all sides as it would represent multi-million dollar losses on a global scale.
How many bitcoins have been lost?
However, despite all the programming and means created to guarantee the correct issuance of bitcoins, there have been small errors in the process. For example, the first mined block of Bitcoin, the genesis block has a coinbase transaction that cannot be used. That means there are 50 BTCs in that block that no one can use, not even their miner, Satoshi Nakamoto. Other errors for example can be seen in the block 124724. In this block, an attempt was made to intentionally claim 0,00000001 BTC less than allowed, but accidentally did not claim commissions either, losing 0,01000001 BTC.
Another programming error can be seen between blocks 162705 and the block 169899 A total of 193 blocks claimed less than allowed due to an error, resulting in a total loss of 9,66184623 BTC. The same happened for example between the blocks 180324 and the block 249185. Among these there were a total of 836 blocks claimed less than allowed, resulting in a total loss of 0,52584193 BTC. The block 501726 had no transaction results (except a 0 value commitment), losing the entire reward: 12,5 BTC.
Each of these errors have added bitcoins that are not within the Bitcoin economic ecosystem and that modify how many bitcoins left to mine. No one can use or recover them, they are the so-called "lost coins" that no one can ever enjoy.