90% of all bitcoins have been mined as of today.
As miners’ reward – which is the only possible way to produce new bitcoins – is halved every 4 years, Bitcoin supply is capped just under 21 million.
In almost 12 years 18.89 million bitcoins have been mined, but following the rules of mathematics it will take another 119 years to get close to the maximum amount.
Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto definitely knew how to create a provably scarce asset, and they also knew why it was necessary: “The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.”
Why 21 million? Some assume this figure was chosen to align with $21Tr of the world’s M1 (most liquid portion of the money supply, including physical currency and checkable deposits) back in 2008. Others think that 21M was chosen for the mathematical reasons: it is integral to the block reward halving that happens every 210’000 blocks, and, according to some researchers, also helps avoid rounding errors on computer systems. In any case, Bitcoin protocol’s math has stood the test of time, and while nowadays world M1 exceeds $40Tr, Bitcoin is still capped at 21M.
Bitcoin is still a mystery for the majority of people, even if its popularity is reaching news highs amid the progressing inflation all over the world. Still, the majority do not yet realize just how precious are Bitcoin’s independence, accessibility and scarcity. They will one day… but there will always be less than 21M bitcoins.