One of the most common questions of those who have just arrived in the world of Bitcoin is, how much is the total emission of bitcoin and who controls it? In this article we will explain in simple words how much the total emission of bitcoin will be and how this parameter is controlled within a decentralized network. 

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 does such a limited amount of bitcoins really guarantee?. How long will it be until the total issue?. What will happen after the total issue of bitcoins ?. These questions are completely valid at this point and in this article we will examine them along with other interesting data on the issue 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 compensate received by 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.

To see this in more detail and understand it, let's look at the following box:

Total emission of Bitcoins over time

During the first 4 years of Bitcoin (2009-2013), an issue of 10,5 million BTC was reached. This is because the block reward was 50 BTC and there was a total of 210.000 blocks with that reward. Then the reward was halved for the first halving of Bitcoin, and the issuance of the following 210.000 blocks was equivalent to 5.250.000 BTC.

The halving rewards reduction policy controls inflation and reduces the amount of bitcoins issued. If you continue to issue normally, when halving # 34 arrives, what should happen in the year 2144, there would be 20.999.999,9993 BTC in circulation and the block reward will be zero BTC. That's an amount very close to 21 million BTC, but "Not exactly" that amount.

By then, Bitcoin will be 135 years old. During this time, blockchain technology is sure to evolve into something entirely new.

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:

0 0 50 10500000,00000000 2008
1 210000 25 5250000,00000000 2012
2 420000 12,5 2625000,00000000 2016
3 630000 6,25 1312500,00000000 2020
4 840000 3,125 656250,00000000 2024
5 1050000 1,5625 328125,00000000 2028
10 2100000 0,04882813 10253,90625000 2048
15 3150000 0,00152588 320,43457031 2068
20 4200000 0,00004768 10,01358032 2088
25 5250000 0,00000149 0,31292439 2108
30 6300000 0,00000005 0,00977889 2128
34 7140000 0,00000000 0,00061118 2144
TOTAL BITCOINS 20.999.999,99938880

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 the means created to guarantee the correct issuance of bitcoins, there have been small errors in the process. For example, the first Bitcoin mined block, 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 He 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 economic ecosystem of Bitcoin. No one can use or recover them, they are the so-called "lost coins" that no one can ever enjoy.

How much do you know, cryptonuta?

Is the total issue of cryptocurrencies in Bitcoin something that can be easily altered?


Certainly altering the programming of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency to take it to a new level of issuance is a very simple thing to do. However, this leads to a series of very complex previous actions to be carried out. You need to discuss the change, analyze and anticipate the positive and negative impact of those actions on the part of the developers and the community, create a consensus and make the change. All this prevents the change from being made unilaterally and lightly of this system, it is what guarantees its stability and continuity over time.

A replicated situation

But Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency with these characteristics. All cryptocurrencies have taken Bitcoin technology as a base and adapted or improved it. Many of them are actually still guided by the same economic system that supports Bitcoin. Others have put it aside and have made the decision to have infinite emissions with other emission systems and inflation control.

Eg Litecoin It has a coin issuance system very similar to Bitcoin. His halving happens every 840.000 blocks and his rewards are split in half. Its time between blocks is 2,5 minutes instead of 10 minutes like Bitcoin. This results in slightly higher inflation than Bitcoin's, but faces the same issue of total issuance. In Litecoin this total issue is close to 84 million coins. In fact, if we examine this data more globally, we will see that Litecoin only quadruples its emission and halving numbers, and reduces the generation of each block four times.

In the case of Ethereum, the emission change is completely different. The emission is infinite and with a dynamic inflationary adjustment. Other emission adjustments are those presented for example in Monero. Monero has a very similar Bitcoin issuance but much more accelerated. In fact, the total issue of Monero will be reached in 2025. But at that time, the "Tail emission". This is an infinite coin issue that will keep inflation very low in Monero. All this in order to maintain an incentive for the Monero miners. As you can see, each project and cryptocurrency has its own specific form of issuance and the formula to control it autonomously and decentralized.