A soundbyte news item recently took the crypto community by storm: 85% of the world’s Bitcoin supply has been mined.
It’s a little too easy for newbie crypto investors to interpret this data point as bad news. It sounds too much like “the end of Bitcoin is near,” and suggests a tone of doom for companies that depend on the popular cryptocurrency to function.
But this simply isn’t an accurate portrayal of the situation. We’re nowhere near the end of Bitcoin — we’re barely even out of the beginning yet.
We’ve always known we’d one day have no more Bitcoin to mine. The supply of this cryptocurrency has been transparently finite from day one. The number 21 million is hardcoded into the software that drives the network — just as there is only so much gold in the world, there will only ever be that much Bitcoin. (If there was an unlimited supply of Bitcoin, then individual tokens would be totally worthless.)
Bitcoin is beautifully transparent in how it operates. It depends upon a mathematically controlled scarcity mechanism called “blockhalving” in order to sustain its value into the future. Blockhalving reduces the reward for mining new BTC by 50% every 210,000 blocks. Current production is at 1,800 BTC per day right now, and will stay that way until the next blockhalving in May 2020. Knowing everything we know right now, we can determine that it will take until the year 2140 for miners to actually mine the last Bitcoin.
Yes, we’ve mined 85 percent of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But it’s still going to take more than a hundred years to reach 100 percent, and even after this point of no return, miners will still have opportunities to generate revenue. They’ll simply move from solving complicated math problems that create new BTC to instead solving complicated math problems that confirm transactions on the network, collecting rewards in the form of transaction fees for their role in supporting the network. At such a time when Bitcoin reaches full maturity with 21 million BTC in the wild, there’s bound to be a lot of transactions to process.
It won’t be the end, it will be a new beginning in which cryptocurrency is far more ordinary and mainstream. With that in mind, here are three actionable takeaways for the crypto enthusiasts wondering what to do in response to this 85 percent news item.
Mine while you still can.
As described above, the Bitcoin mining is going to continue for quite some time and can’t accurately be described as done. With 15 percent of the total supply remaining, the crypto community still stands to generate some 3,150,000 BTC before this game is truly over. With BTC price lately holding around $10,000, there’s more than $31 billion up for grabs at today’s market prices. There’s no telling how this value will change going forward. Grab some while you still can!
Bitcoin mining is a much different game with 15 percent of the supply remaining versus when there was still 100 percent remaining. You nowadays need high-powered hardware in order to compete against the centralized commercial mining operations that benefit from economies of scale. These pay less for the electricity that powers their mining rigs, and they run lots of them at once. You might consider getting an ASIC mining device in order to stand a chance of successfully earning some Bitcoin for yourself, or you can rent access to supercharged offsite hardware by engaging a cloud mining company.
Take the opportunity to educate yourself.
If you felt a tinge of doom or panic at this news, then I’m happy to be telling you that there’s no cause for concern, wherever you fit within the crypto community. But I’ll also tell you that this is a great time to be digging deeper and build a fuller working knowledge of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency topics — major players knew not to flinch at the 85 percent statistic, so you’d do well to follow their lead. It just means you need a little more familiarity in this arena.
Read cryptocurrency news sites and think about joining any one of the many crypto meetups that convene in cities around the world. Get into the habit of taking in new information and external opinions on Bitcoin and our crypto-enabled future. You’ll not only expand your knowledge base, but you’ll meet similarly minded crypto enthusiasts looking to do the same thing.
Keep calm and carry on.
Bitcoin mining isn’t even over yet, and its inevitable end still isn’t something to agonize about. This decentralized system is operating exactly according to its design. The individual crypto enthusiast only needs to figure out where he or she wants to fit within this emergent economy.
Bitcoin isn’t going away, it’s going everywhere. If you’ll forgive a poetic analogy, mining the final Bitcoin won’t be like cutting down the final tree in a forest. It will be much more like a flower reaching full bloom