How many Bitcoin are there and why?

Bitcoin symbol on a phone screen

There are currently around 18.9 million Bitcoin in circulation, with a maximum supply of 21 million. The remaining couple of million Bitcoin are expected to be fully mined by 2140. You may be wondering why it will take over 100 years for comparatively so few Bitcoin to be mined compared to what has been produced since 2009?

The answer lies in the way Bitcoin rewards for miners are distributed. Roughly every four years (depending on how quickly blocks are processed) mining rewards are cut in half. The idea being that the increased value of Bitcoin will ensure mining is profitable. Mining rewards are the incentive for miners to validate transactions on the blockchain and create new blocks, which is how new Bitcoin is created and then circulated.

By capping the total number of Bitcoin to 21 million, Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi, aimed to create a money supply that could not be inflated and devalued in the future. Central banks use tools such as quantitative easing to print more fiat currency which some economists fear leads to a devaluation of fiat currency’s purchasing power.

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