We’ve often heard about how much bitcoin is presently circulating throughout the financial markets. At the time of writing, about 18 million units of BTC have been extracted or mined since the currency was founded, which means that there are only about three million units left.
Bitcoin Is Close to Being Fully Mined
Bitcoin is a finite currency. It cannot be continuously printed or developed the way fiat can, and analysts say there are only about 21 million bitcoin units available to the world. This sounds a bit scary at first. When the currency is fully mined and there are no more units to extract, the currency is likely to lose its present price and become as worthless – or as standard, we’ll put it – as fiat currency. However, the good news is that many of us won’t be around to see this day come.
Why? Because it will take approximately 120 years for the remaining bitcoin units to be mined. We’ve still got plenty of time to see bitcoin move up the financial ladder and achieve the respect and attention it deserves.
Mining is the process of extracting new coins from the blockchain. As mentioned, there are only three million units to go before the world experiences all bitcoin has to offer. This suggests just how busy miners have been over the past 12 years. Bitcoin, after all, only emerged in the year 2008.
But while the question may be a bit early, one can’t help but wonder what will happen to all these miners once every coin has been extracted. Will they be out of a job? Will the entire mining industry come crashing down, and will bitcoin as we know it cease to exist?
Not exactly. In fact, miners are set to become more important than ever. How? Because miners are required to verify every transaction that occurs.
Whenever someone buys or sells bitcoin, a miner must be involved to log the transaction into the bitcoin blockchain. A transaction must be approved by a miner before it goes through, so in the year 2140 – when all bitcoins are said to be mined and available to traders everywhere – there’s a very good chance that bitcoin will be used in the same way that people use credit cards or cash today.
How Will Miners Continue to Work?
Thus, the world has many more transactions and BTC-based purchases to look forward to. If that’s the case, miners may not be extracting new coins, but their jobs will still exist. Rather than serving as technical analysts, however, their roles will transition more to appear as accountants or financial middlemen.
The only problem that comes from all this will be transaction fees. One can only assume that they’ll be much larger in the coming years as BTC works to replace cash. If fees are too great, will individuals utilize BTC for what it was designed for?