Bitcoin’s pre-programmed scarcity is one of its most impressive qualities. It’s the world’s first truly scarce digital object. The implications of that are considerable, to say the least. To put things in perspective, given the current population of the world, there is 1 Bitcoin for every 333 people out there.
One of the features Bitcoin is known within the community is the limited supply. The protocol is written in a way that won’t allow the creation of more than 21 million bitcoins.
In order to make the network secure while also governing the supply of newly created bitcoins, Bitcoin’s blockchain goes through an event known as the Halving. Every four years, the reward that miners get for adding new blocks on the network is slashed in half. And since the bitcoins that enter the market are those that miners sell to cover their expenses, the halving essentially reduces the supply of bitcoins to the open market. The next Bitcoin halving is estimated to take place in May 2020. It will decrease the reward to 6.25 BTC per block.
Moreover, Bitcoin is entirely digital. While there are assets with limited quantity (gold) and others that are digitalized, the largest cryptocurrency combines both in a world first.
As the above might seem like a positive feature to people who already own a portion (or many portions), others might have second thoughts. For those waiting to get in simple math implies that their time might be slowly expiring. Not every human being walking the Earth has even the theoretical chance to own a whole bitcoin.
0.003 BTC Per Person
The race for one bitcoin has never been so uncertain, because of that same math.
As of February 2020, there are over 7.7 billion people on Earth. If BTC is distributed evenly among all of them, it would mean that one human being will own 0.003 of the largest cryptocurrency. Alternatively, every 333 people can own one whole bitcoin.
But that’s only the best-case scenario. The reality is different and is actually much more negative. Around three million bitcoins or more are considered to be permanently lost for various reasons. Virtually, the chances to ever own one keep decreasing.
Just to put things into perspective, Bitcoin is so scarce that more millionaires are walking on this planet.
There are less bitcoin (21 million) than there are millionaires in the world today (~36 million). It will pay to be an early bitcoin adopter.
— Cameron Winklevoss (@winklevoss) February 5, 2020
A recent report noted that, so far, bitcoin mass adoption lack in terms of owning even a small portion. It indicated that only 23 million entities are holding the largest cryptocurrency, which is 0.3% of the total world population. Even more, less than a million people owned one bitcoin.
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