Bitcoin Scarcity, Rethinking the 21 Million Myth

Bitcoin Scarcity, Rethinking the 21 Million Myth

Mar 12 Tech Standard

We've all heard it - there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin. But what if the reality is even more significant? This seemingly fixed supply might not be entirely accurate, making bitcoin even scarcer than we originally thought.

Understanding this hidden scarcity strengthens the case for bitcoin's value and offers a clearer perspective during market fluctuations. By considering the actual available supply, price volatility appears less daunting. Conversely, during bull markets, the true scarcity makes accumulating bitcoin, even at seemingly high prices, a compelling strategy.

Beyond the 21 Million

The story starts with Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin's mysterious creator, who holds a significant chunk – an estimated 1.096 million coins. These coins haven't moved since the early days, categorized as "zombie coins." Combined with other unmoved coins, this amounts to roughly 1.457 million, likely lost forever. Just like that, nearly 7% of the supposed supply is effectively out of reach.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Data suggests millions more coins haven't budged since bitcoin's infancy. Lost by early miners or forgotten in archaic wallets, these coins further reduce the actual available supply.

Lost and HODLed, A Shrinking Supply

Cointime Economics estimates that between 3.89 million and 4.87 million coins could be considered permanently lost. Even using the lower estimate, this shrinks the original 21 million to 17.11 million – an 18% reduction!

Adding to this, a growing number of individuals and institutions are "HODLing" (holding on for dear life) their bitcoin, removing them from circulation. Take Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, who has amassed a massive holding for his company and himself, with no plans to sell. He represents just a fraction of the millions holding on, further reducing the available supply.

The Takeaway, Scarcity Magnified

Accounting for lost coins and those unlikely to ever be sold, the initial supply has likely been reduced by around 20%. That means there are probably less than 16.8 million bitcoin truly available.

As the next halving approaches and institutional interest grows, the time to secure your piece of the bitcoin pie might be now. With only 16.8 million, or perhaps even less, remaining, the stage is set for a future defined by scarcity.


Crafting cinematic stories through the lens of my phone, I am a blogger and content writer who expresses the essence of my blogs through words

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