How Many Bitcoins Are There in 2024? BTC Tokenomics Explained

The maximum supply of Bitcoin (BTC) is capped at 21 million, meaning the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency is a finite asset. But how many Bitcoins are there, currently?

In this guide, we explore how the circulating supply of Bitcoin works, how many new tokens enter the market each day, and when it will reach its finite total.

We also explain how Bitcoin mining impacts the circulating supply and where the majority of BTC tokens are currently being held.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin’s maximum supply is capped at 21 million tokens.
  • Understanding how many Bitcoins are available as the BTC halving event approaches will help future investors shape the cryptocurrency’s trajectory.
  • Knowing the number of Bitcoins in circulation helps investors verify the system behind the cryptocurrency and how it functions, ensuring no bugs have been exploited.
  • Besides the level of scarcity, the total number of Bitcoin in circulation shows investors that BTC is a ‘hard’ asset historically sought out in times of inflation and uncertainty.
  • BTC’s mining rewards are the primary catalyst for the total quantity of BTC in circulation.
  • The approaching BTC halving will reduce mining rewards from 6.25 to 3.125 BTC per block, potentially impacting the available supply and influencing the asset’s price.

How Many BTC Are There in Circulation in 2024?

Let’s get straight into it – currently, over 19.6 million Bitcoins are in circulation, as per CoinMarketCap data. This means that out of the total supply of 21 Bitcoin tokens, 93.56% are already in circulation.

Interestingly, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign paper article notes that Bitcoin is not expected to reach its maximum supply until 2140. This is because of how the Bitcoin ‘halving’ system works.

  • Every 10 minutes, new Bitcoin enters the circulating supply
  • Bitcoin miners, who verify transactions, receive the newly minted tokens
  • Bitcoin mining rewards were originally 50 BTC
  • However, this is currently down to 6.25 BTC
  • This figure is expected to halve again in 2024, bringing the Bitcoin mining reward down to 3.125 BTC

The Bitcoin halving event takes place approximately every four years, with the next Bitcoin halving cycle expected to occur in 2024. This is why the vast majority of Bitcoin tokens have already entered the circulating supply.

When exploring how many Bitcoins there are in circulation, the best resource is CoinMarketCap. The platform updates key information surrounding BTC in real time, not only in terms of the circulating supply but prices, market capitalization, and trading volumes.

Knowing how many Bitcoins are available helps investors verify the system behind the cryptocurrency and how it is functioning, making sure no bugs have been exploited, data scientist at Flipside Crypto, Carlos Mercado, told Techopedia.

“In August 2010 (early enough in Bitcoin’s history that Satoshi themselves was able to intervene), block 74,638 had a bug that generated over 180 billion Bitcoin (an integer overflow exploit). This was rolled back and fixed within 5 hours.”

Unlike traditional fiat currencies, more BTC tokens can never be printed. Ben Weiss, the CEO and co-founder at CoinFlip, explained that the central banking system can always say it will not print any more money but could risk losing credibility in doing so.

“Even previously disciplined countries have fallen into this trap in the last few years, leading to rampant inflation. Understanding how many BTC are in circulation not only allows investors to assess its level of scarcity but also shows investors that BTC is a ‘hard’ asset, which is historically sought out in times of inflation and uncertainty.”

Calculating How Many Bitcoins Are Left to Mine and Buy

Before calculating how many Bitcoins are left to mine, it’s important to understand how the supply works.

Let’s start with the very basics.

10-Minute Minting System

When the Bitcoin network was launched in 2009, its main ethos was ‘decentralization.’ In simple terms, this means that no single person or entity controls the network. This also means that Bitcoin is not backed by any government or nation-state.

And hence, Bitcoin operates independently and free from third-party interference. In order to remain decentralized, the transactions are verified by ‘miners.’ These are people or entities that connect specialist hardware to the network to validate Bitcoin blocks.

Bitcoin mining

Only one miner can successfully mine a Bitcoin block, which happens every 10 minutes. The successful miner will receive rewards, paid in BTC tokens. Currently, each block reward is 6.25 BTC. Most importantly, mining rewards are paid from newly minted Bitcoin. As such, every 10 minutes, 6.25 BTC enters the circulating supply.

This enables us to calculate how many Bitcoins there are at any given time.

Bitcoin Halving

So, how many total Bitcoins are there? In order to calculate how many BTC tokens there are left to mine, we need to understand how the halving mechanism works.

In a nutshell, Bitcoin halving reduces the BTC rewards that miners receive for successfully validating a block. This is reduced by 50%. Therefore, Bitcoin halving also reduces the number of newly minted BTC tokens that enter the circulating supply.

The purpose of these halvings is to gradually reduce the rate at which new BTC tokes are created, limiting the total BTC supply to 21 million tokens while also fostering scarcity and potentially influencing the cryptocurrency’s value to grow even further.

Bitcoin Halving

According to CoinFlip’s Weiss, BTC’s mining rewards serve as the main catalyst for the total quantity of BTC in circulation in the world.

The Next Bitcoin Halving

The next BTC halving will occur around April 2024, specifically after 210,000 BTC blocks are mined. With the anticipated halving event on its way, the block reward for mined BTC is expected to be reduced from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC.

Weiss speculated that a number of long-term BTC investors are unlikely to sell their tokens in the near future, thus reducing the available BTC supply to new, interested buyers and driving price upwards, which is where the halving events come in handy.

The Final Bitcoin Halving

However, it is also important to note that the very last halving event is set to occur sometime around 2140 when block rewards cease and miners rely strictly on transaction fees.

Check out the table below, which highlights the impact of each Bitcoin halving event on newly minted tokens.

Year Mining Reward in BTC
Now 6.25
2024 3.125
2028 1.5625
2032 0.78125
2036 0.390625
2040 0.1953125
2044 0.09765625
2048 0.048828125
2052 0.0244140625
2056 0.01220703125
2060 0.006103515625

As per the above, only 0.78125 BTC will enter the circulating supply until 2032. This shows that the vast majority of Bitcoin tokens are already in circulation.

How Many Bitcoins Are Out There? Key Stats

Now, let’s package everything together so we can answer the question: How many bitcoins are there in the world?

No. BTC in Circulation 19,647,050
No. BTC Available for Mining 1,352,950
Percentage of Total Supply Already Mined 93.56%
Percentage of Bitcoin Dominance 51.91%
24-Hour Trading Volume $60.5 billion

Note: These figures are accurate at the time of writing

What is the Difference Between the Circulating Supply and Total Supply of Bitcoin?

  • The ‘total’ supply of Bitcoin is the maximum number of BTC tokens that will ever be in circulation.
  • As we have established, this figure is 21 million BTC tokens.
  • However, not all BTC tokens are currently in supply.
  • Right now, just over 19.6 million tokens are in circulation. This translates to 93.56% of the total Bitcoin supply.
  • The remaining 6.6% of BTC tokens are yet to be mined, meaning they are not in circulation.

How Many Bitcoins Can Be Mined?

The number of Bitcoins that can be mined is proportionate to the total supply. For example, there are just over 19.6 million BTC tokens currently in circulation – all of these are a result of mining.

How Many Bitcoins Can Be Mined?

In other words, new BTC tokens that enter circulation can only be distributed to miners.

As such, the only way for miners to remain viable is to sell the BTC rewards that they receive. This can be done in a number of ways, such as through the best crypto exchanges or the OTC (Over-the-Counter) markets.

Bitcoins sold by miners are then available to buy from investors and traders, remaining in the open market indefinitely.

Can All Bitcoins Be Mined?

Each and every Bitcoin token in circulation is a result of mining. This is the only way new cryptocurrencies like BTC can enter the market. The network incentivizes miners with newly minted Bitcoin tokens.

Looking to mine some Bitcoin to earn extra income? Unfortunately, the Bitcoin mining industry is now dominated by large-cap entities with access to vast resources and cheap energy.

For example, one of the most advanced Bitcoin mining devices is the MicroBT Whatsminer M56S. While this has the potential to generate a maximum hash rate of 212TH/s, each device retails for $5,745.

Can All Bitcoins Be Mined?

Now consider that the largest mining operations have hundreds, sometimes thousands of hardware devices active at any given time. This is in addition to significant electricity costs, even in countries where energy prices are considered cheap.

How Many Bitcoins Will There Ever Be?

Due to the mining mechanism that occurs every 10 minutes, the supply of Bitcoin will only increase. This will be the case until all 21 million BTC tokens are mined, expected in 2140.

But could the BTC supply reach 21 million tokens in total before the final halving event?

Anndy Lian, the author of NFT: From Zero to Hero, calculates that this is highly unlikely:

“The current Bitcoin hash rate is 468.68 EH/s, representing the global Bitcoin network hash rate with a mining difficulty of 73.20 T at block height 825,8414. This means that the network is performing about 468.68 quintillion hashes per second to find new blocks.

 

“The average time to find a block is about 10 minutes, but this can vary depending on the network conditions and the luck of the miners. Based on these numbers, we can estimate that about 900 new Bitcoins are mined per day (6.25 BTC x 144 blocks per day).”

With this in mind, is Bitcoin an inflationary or deflationary cryptocurrency? In theory, it is both.

For example, considering that new BTC tokens enter the market every 10 minutes, Bitcoin is currently an inflationary currency. After all, as more tokens enter circulation, this dilutes the value.

However, equally, the total supply of Bitcoin is not only halved every four years – but capped at 21 million tokens. This makes Bitcoin scarce and finite, which is why it can also be considered deflationary.

What is Bitcoin’s Supply and Demand?

The supply and demand of BTC is another important metric when exploring the question: How many Bitcoins are there? How many people use Bitcoin?

The reason for this is simple – the supply and demand of Bitcoin directly impact its value. This is much the same as any other tradable asset, be it stocks, commodities, or bonds.

With that being said, while the supply of Bitcoin is completely predictable, demand isn’t. For instance, when the broader crypto markets are bullish, demand for Bitcoin increases. In turn, this helps Bitcoin appreciate in value. However, during bearish cycles, the opposite happens.

What is Bitcoin’s Supply and Demand?

As such, demand for Bitcoin is determined by market forces and broader sentiment. For example, the chart above clearly shows the correlation between market sentiment and demand for Bitcoin.

The largest amount of cryptocurrency traded in a 24-hour period occurred during the peak of the bull market. And similarly, we can see that demand for Bitcoin drops significantly once the bear market arrives.

Ultimately, demand for Bitcoin will depend on a range of factors. For example, Bitcoin has historically performed well in the lead-up to its halving event. This is because the broader markets price the declining circulating supply into its value.

Moreover, demand is also determined by fundamental news. For example, if the SEC approves a Bitcoin ETF, this will benefit the price of Bitcoin. But if the news is negative, the opposite can happen.

How Many Unrecoverable, Lost & Stolen Bitcoins Are There?

Another key caveat to consider: What happens to Bitcoin tokens that are no longer recoverable?

Suppose an investor has 1 BTC in a private wallet but no longer has access to the password or private keys. In reality, the 1 BTC is gone forever. After all, it is likely beyond possible for the owner to regain access to the wallet and, thus – the Bitcoin.

On the one hand, this 1 BTC is still in the circulating supply. This is because the tokens have already been minted by miners, so they exist in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Still, if certain Bitcoin is unrecoverable, some would argue it should not be factored into the total supply.

Lost BTCs and dormant wallets can affect how many Bitcoins are in circulation, the growth and strategy contributor at Osmosis, Aaron Kong, told Techopedia.

“That is, we can speculate by subtracting these BTC from the total supply. However, there is no way to accurately determine exactly how many BTC have been lost due to lost private keys and such, so it is not something we will ever know with complete certainty.”

A good example to consider is James Howells, who, in 2013, disposed of an old laptop containing 8,000 BTC tokens. At its peak of over $68,000, the 8,000 BTC tokens would have been worth over $540 million.

How Many Unrecoverable, Lost & Stolen Bitcoins Are There?

How Does Stolen Bitcoin Impact Its Supply?

Another consideration is Bitcoin tokens that are stolen from their rightful owner. This can occur in various ways, such as an exchange hack or a broader scam.

According to CNN, more than $3.8 billion worth of Bitcoin was stolen in 2022. Stolen Bitcoin tokens technically remain in the circulating supply, as the thieves can access the tokens.

However, with law enforcement agencies now able to use blockchain analysis techniques, cashing out the stolen Bitcoin is no longer an easy feat.

The BTC protocol uses an unspent transaction output (UTXO) to track balances as they move between cryptocurrency wallets.

Flipside Crypto’s Mercado explained:

“Many proxies exist like monitoring the amount of Bitcoin unmoved in 1, 2, or 5 years, and analysts use this figure to estimate lost or dormant wallets to alter their estimates of Bitcoin’s circulation and supply. For example, Satoshi’s wallet has billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin, and none has moved in over 10 years.”

According to data provided by Blockchain.com, BTC’s UTXO, as of 20 January 2024, surpassed 159 million.

Lian added that based on his own knowledge of the crypto industry, only about 14.8 million BTC are actually available for use out of the 19 million tokens currently in circulation. This effectively reduces the token’s supply and increases scarcity, which in turn can impact its price and demand.

“Some wallets may belong to long-term holders waiting for the right time to sell or use their coins. Some wallets may have been forgotten by their owners, but they can still be recovered if they remember their private key or password. Some wallets may have been deliberately destroyed or discarded by their owners, making their coins permanently unrecoverable,” he said.

What Happens When Bitcoin’s Supply Reaches 0?

The Bitcoin supply cannot drop to zero. The Bitcoin supply will continue to increase every 10 minutes until 21 million BTC has entered circulation. At this point, no more Bitcoin will be mined.

However, this presents a more pressing question: What will happen to miners once Bitcoin reaches its finite supply, estimated in 2140? After all, miners sit at the heart of the Bitcoin network, enabling it to operate in a decentralized and secure way.

First and foremost, mining rewards will have dropped to zero, considering no new Bitcoin can enter circulation. However, as is the case today, those sending Bitcoin will still need to pay transaction fees. Currently, Bitcoin transaction fees are added to the mining reward received by those that successfully verify a block.

Bitcoin average transaction

Once the total supply of Bitcoin is reached, miners will only receive the transaction fees. To assess whether or not this will be viable for miners, let’s explore what transaction fees currently amount to.

The disparity in Bitcoin transaction fees is directly correlated to network demand. As more people use the Bitcoin network, transaction fees increase, and vice versa, decrease when network demand declines.

Bitcoin transaction fees

Nonetheless, while these fees might seem low for miners, this is paid for each transaction. When successfully mining a Bitcoin block, which occurs every 10 minutes, all transaction fees are received.

According to Blockchain.com, approximately 30 BTC worth of transaction fees were paid to miners in the prior 24 hours. This values the mining rewards at approximately $900,000. Now, considering there is a newly mined block every 10 minutes, that’s 144 per day. Therefore, based on $900,000, that’s an average of $6,250 per block.

That said, we can’t say miners will no longer be motivated to mine Bitcoin. On the contrary, if fewer miners are present, this reduces the competition.

What is the Bitcoin Mining Difficulty?

  • The Bitcoin mining difficulty refers to the complexity of mining a single block.
  • In other words, the complexity of the mathematical equation that needs to be solved when mining Bitcoin.
  • The Bitcoin mining difficulty will rise and fall based on several factors, such as network demand and the number of active miners at any given time.
  • When the Bitcoin mining difficulty declines, so does the complexity of the mathematical equation.
  • This makes it easier to mine Bitcoin, as less powerful mining hardware can be used.

Has Bitcoin Made Investors Rich?

Many investors wonder: should I buy Bitcoin to make a profit? The simple answer to whether Bitcoin has made some crypto investors BTC millionaires is yes – Bitcoin has made some investors extremely rich. As such, BTC is considered one of the best cryptocurrencies to buy.

According to a report from the Mirror, Haziq Nasri (a Malaysian crypto enthusiast and investor) has made millions in profits from investing in Bitcoin.

The most successful Bitcoin investors are those holding their tokens for many years. Sure, BTC goes through market cycles like any other asset. But since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has witnessed unprecedented gains.

In the meantime, it’s important to note that according to a recent research, almost 80% of investors worldwide have suffered financial losses as a result of their BTC purchases.

There are no guarantees that holding Bitcoin long-term will yield a financial return. Let alone unprecedented growth like in the examples above.

The Bottom Line

So, How many Bitcoins are there in total? More than 19.6 million tokens are already in circulation out of a total supply of 21 million. This means that over 93.56% of Bitcoins have already been mined.

That said, the number of new Bitcoins entering the market declines every four years. Overall, BTC’s capped supply significantly impacts the cryptocurrency’s value and the dynamics of the cryptocurrency market. Currently, 6.25 BTC enters circulation every 10 minutes, which will be reduced to 3.125 BTC in 2024.

Knowing how many Bitcoins are available in circulation helps investors weed out any potential system malfunctions, check up on the BTC blockchain health, and better understand the cryptocurrency’s tokenomics.

FAQs

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Kane Pepi
Editor
Kane Pepi
Editor

Kane Pepi is an accomplished financial and cryptocurrency writer who has an extensive portfolio of over 2,000 articles, guides, and market insights. With his expertise in specialized subjects such as asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and financial crime prevention, Kane has built a reputation for providing clear explanations of complex financial topics. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and a Master's Degree in Financial Crime, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate degree, which focuses on investigating the complexities of money laundering in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sectors. Kane's wealth of knowledge and experience in the field make…