How Many Bitcoins are There in 2024?

Only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist, meaning the world’s 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.

How Many BTC are There in Circulation in 2024?

Let’s get straight into it – currently, there are just over 19.4 million Bitcoins in circulation, as per CoinMarketCap data. This means that out of the total supply of 21 Bitcoin tokens, 92.44% 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 are there in circulation, the best resource is CoinMarketCap. The platform updates key information surrounding Bitcoin in real-time. Not only in terms of the circulating supply, but prices, market capitalization, and trading volumes.

Calculating How Many Bitcoins are Left to Mine and Buy

Before calculating how many Bitcoins are there 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 Bitcoin 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, Bitcoin transactions are verified by ‘miners’. These are people or entities that connect specialist hardware to the Bitcoin 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

Still wondering 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 Bitcoin 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.

According to CNBC, Bitcoin halving takes place approximately every four years. As noted above, the next Bitcoin halving will take place in 2024. This means that every 10 minutes, only 3.125 BTC tokens will enter the circulating supply, down from 6.25 BTC.

The Bitcoin halving event is purposeful. That is to say, the creator of Bitcoin developed the halving mechanism to counter excessive inflation and to ensure its supply remains scarce over time.

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 once we get to 2032. This shows how 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 19,413,325
No. BTC Available for Mining 1,586,675
Percentage of Total Supply Already Mined 92.44%
Percentage of Bitcoin Dominance 50%
24-Hour Trading Volume $14.7 billion

Note: These figures are accurate at the time of writing

Calculating the number of BTC tokens available to mine is relatively straightforward.

On CoinMarketCap, check the number of BTC tokens in circulation. This is updated in real-time. Then, subtract this figure from 21 million, which is the total supply of Bitcoin.

For example, there are currently 19,413,325 BTC tokens in circulation. Subtract this from 21 million, and that leaves us with 1,586,675 BTC still to mine.

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 there 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 19.4 million tokens are in ‘circulation’. This translates to 92.44% of the total Bitcoin supply.
  • The remaining 7.56% 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, we mentioned above that there are just over 19.4 million BTC tokens currently in circulation. All 19.4 million of these tokens are a result of mining.

Bitcoin total supply

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

So, that begs the question: how do people buy Bitcoin if all the tokens are minted by miners?

  • Well, miners are in the business of making money.
  • They consume vast amounts of electricity in an attempt to successfully mine each block.
  • This is in addition to hugely expensive Bitcoin mining hardware.
  • These costs need to be paid even if the Bitcoin miner is unsuccessful in mining new blocks.

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.

The Bitcoin tokens sold by miners are then available to buy from investors and traders. These tokens will then remain in the open market indefinitely.

How Many Bitcoins Will There Ever be at Any One Time?

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.

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 theoretically dilutes Bitcoin’s 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 questions: How many Bitcoins are there? How many people use Bitcoin?

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

  • However, unlike other assets, the supply of Bitcoin is fixed and predictable.
  • As we have established, we know that every 10 minutes, 6.25 BTC will enter circulation.
  • And once the next Bitcoin halving event takes place, we know that 3.125 BTC will enter circulation every 10 minutes.

Now let’s compare this to stocks. When Tesla announced in 2022 that it would split its stocks on a 3-for-1 basis, this was a surprise to the markets. Once the split was initiated, three times as many Tesla stocks were in circulation.

Similarly, the supply of commodities like gold and silver is also unpredictable. After all, precious metals only enter the circulating supply once they are physically mined.

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.

As such, demand for Bitcoin is determined by market forces and broader sentiment. For example, in the chart above, it is clear to see 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, and Stolen Bitcoins are There?

We mentioned in the section above that the total supply of Bitcoin is predictable, considering the 10-minute mining framework.

However, there is a key caveat to consider: What happens to Bitcoin tokens that are no longer recoverable?

For example, suppose an investor has 1 BTC in a private wallet, but they no longer have access to the password or private keys. In reality, the 1 BTC is gone forever. After all, it is likely beyond the realms of possibility 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. On the other hand, if the Bitcoin is unrecoverable, some would argue that it should not be factored into the total supply.

This thesis is much the same as other commodities that are priced based on demand and supply. For example, consider a large quantity of oil barrels that are destroyed in transit. While the oil has been extracted and refined, it is no longer usable. As such, this should be factored into the broader value of oil prices.

Going back to Bitcoin, 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.

James Howells lost 8,000 BTC tokens

According to the Guardian, Howells is exploring ways to dig up the landfill in the hope of recovering the Bitcoin. Considering the likelihood of the recovery being unsuccessful, these 8,000 BTC tokens are effectively no longer in the Bitcoin supply.

How Does Stolen Bitcoin Impact its Supply?

  • Another consideration to make 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 have access to 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.

And then there’s the case of Satoshi Nakamoto – the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. Nakamoto has never revealed his identity, nor touched the 1.1 million Bitcoin he holds since 2010. This means that Nakamoto holds just over 5% of the total Bitcoin supply, based on its cap of 21 million tokens.

Based on the length of time that the tokens have remained idle, some would consider this 5% allocation out of the circulating supply. But once again, the tokens exist, so they should still be considered when asking the question: How many Bitcoins are there right now?

Ultimately, from an investment perspective, the circulating supply of Bitcoin is subjective. While some investors will include all Bitcoin that has been mined, others make adjustments based on tokens that are actively available in the market.

Who Owns the Most Bitcoins?

As a pseudonymous technology, Bitcoin transactions are tied to wallet addresses rather than real-world identities. That said, the transparency of the blockchain allows us to evaluate who owns the largest wallets in the market.

A good starting point is BitInfoCharts, which ranks Bitcoin wallet addresses based on the number of BTC tokens held.

First, there is wallet address:

34xp4vRoCGJym3xR7yCVPFHoCNxv4Twseo

This wallet address belongs to the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. It is the cold wallet used by the exchange to keep client-owned Bitcoin offline. Currently, the wallet holds just over 248,597 BTC.

34xp4vRoCGJym3xR7yCVPFHoCNxv4Twseo

Based on current BTC/USD prices, this Bitcoin wallet is valued at over $7.5 billion. We mentioned earlier that the current circulating supply of Bitcoin is just over $19.4 million. This means that the Binance wallet holds 1.2% of the circulating supply.

The second largest Bitcoin wallet address is:

bc1qgdjqv0av3q56jvd82tkdjpy7gdp9ut8tlqmgrpmv24sq90ecnvqqjwvw97

This belongs to the Bitfinex exchange and currently holds 178,010 BTC. This values the wallet at over $5.4 billion.

The third largest Bitcoin wallet address is:

39884E3j6KZj82FK4vcCrkUvWYL5MQaS3v

The owner of this wallet is not publicly stated. While it could belong to an exchange, it could also be a large-scale investor. This wallet could also belong to a large Bitcoin mining operation.

Either way, the wallet holds 115,177 BTC, valued at $3.5 billion.

Distribution of Bitcoin addresses

The image above – provided by BitInfoCharts, highlights how Bitcoin is distributed globally, based on how many tokens are held in individual wallets. The vast majority of wallets, at over 40.5 million, contain less than $1 worth of Bitcoin. While just over 2.1 million wallets hold between $10,000 and $100,000.

Even more interestingly, the four largest Bitcoin wallets hold 653,485 BTC. Based on Bitcoin’s cap of 21 million, this means just four wallets hold 3.1% of the total supply.

Has Bitcoin Made Investors Rich?

Ever wondered should I buy Bitcoin to make a profit?

The simple answer to has Bitcoin made some crypto investors millionaires is yes – Bitcoin has made some investors extremely rich. As such, Bitcoin is considered the overall best cryptocurrency 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.

Equally, however, people have also lost money when investing in Bitcoin. This is just the nature of the Bitcoin trading markets.

Bitcoin price chart

That being said, the most successful Bitcoin investors are those holding their tokens over the course of many years. Sure, Bitcoin goes through market cycles like any other asset. But since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has witnessed unprecedented gains.

Let’s look at some examples to illustrate this point.

  • First, let’s consider an investor that bought Bitcoin on February 7th, 2013.
  • As per CoinMarketCap data, the investor would have paid just $20 per BTC.
  • We’ll say the investor bought 100 BTC, valued at $20,000.
  • If the investor held on until November 10th, 2021, they could have cashed out at just over $68,000 per BTC.
  • Based on the original investment of 100 BTC, the investor could have cashed out over $6.8 million.

Now let’s consider a more recent example.

  • Let’s say an investor bought Bitcoin at a then all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017.
  • We’ll say the investor bought 1 BTC, so that’s $20,000.
  • 12 months later, Bitcoin has declined to just over $3,600
  • The investor loses patience and cashes out – netting just $3,600 from their original $20,000 investment

However, now let’s consider a long-term investor that holds their BTC even though prices continue to decline.

  • In this instance, the investor paid $20,000 for 1 BTC in December 2017 and holds until November 2021 when Bitcoin hit $68,000.
  • This investor witnessed gains of 240%, while the investor that sold at $3,600 lost 82%.

According to recent research, almost 80% of investors worldwide have suffered financial losses as a result of their BTC purchases. This worrying trend comes at a time when the market is suffering severe headwinds, most notably the collapse of a major cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

There are no guarantees that holding Bitcoin long-term will yield a financial return. Let alone unprecedented growth like in the examples above. However, based on historical data since Bitcoin was launched in 2009, it remains one of the best-forming assets in the market.

For example, the Dow Jones index has grown by nearly 40% over the prior five years. In comparison, Bitcoin has grown by 350% over the same period. Another top-performing cryptocurrency is BNB.  Considered one of the best utility tokens, BNB has increased by more than 1,500% over the past five years.

Bitcoin vs Dow Jones

Based on a 12-month period, the Dow Jones has grown by 9.6%. While Bitcoin has increased by over 50%. That said, some of the best emerging cryptocurrencies have outperformed Bitcoin over the prior year. For example, Ethereum has increased by over 62%.

Can All Bitcoins be Mined?

As we established earlier, each and every Bitcoin token in circulation is a result of mining. This is the only way that new cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can enter the market. The Bitcoin 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.

MicroBT Whatsminer M56S

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.

This is in stark contrast to the early days of Bitcoin mining. For example, in 2009, very few people knew about Bitcoin. This meant there was little to no competition when mining. As such, people could use standard personal computers to mine Bitcoin passively.

Not only that, but the Bitcoin mining reward was 50 BTC. As noted, this is now 6.25 BTC and will soon drop again to 3.125 BTC.

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 on top of the mining reward, received by those that successfully verify a block.

Bitcoin transaction fees

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. As vice versa 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.

Whether or not is viable for Bitcoin miners remains to be seen. That said, this isn’t to say that miners will no longer be motivated to mine Bitcoin. On the contrary, if fewer miners are present, this reduces the competition. In turn, the Bitcoin mining difficulty is also reduced. This makes Bitcoin easier to mine, meaning less advanced hardware is needed, not to mention reduced energy consumption.

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.

The Verdict

Having explored the question: How many Bitcoins are there in total? – more than 19.4 million tokens are already in circulation. Out of a total supply of 21 million, this means that over 92% of Bitcoins have already been mined.

That said, the number of new Bitcoins entering the market declines every four years. While currently, 6.25 BTC enters circulation every 10 minutes, this will be reduced to 3.125 BTC in 2024.

References

https://www.blockchain-council.org/cryptocurrency/how-many-bitcoins-are-left/

https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/

https://publish.illinois.edu/bs44/2023/02/15/what-will-happen-after-the-worlds-last-bitcoin-is-mined/

https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/tesla-shares-limelight-3-1-stock-split-kicks-2022-08-25/

https://www.blockchain.com/explorer/charts/total-bitcoins

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/01/tech/crypto-hacks-2022/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/02/man-hopes-ai-and-robot-dogs-will-help-recover-150m-in-bitcoin-from-landfill

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/dec/11/satoshi-nakamoto-craig-wright-and-a-bitcoin-mystery-in-america

https://bitinfocharts.com/top-100-richest-bitcoin-addresses.html

https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/

https://www.google.com/finance/quote/.DJI:INDEXDJX?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiRjIO23-T_AhVyT2wGHUGzCnIQ3ecFegQIJRAf&comparison=BTC-USD&window=5Y

https://www.viperatech.com/product/microbt-whatsminer-m56s-212ths/

https://www.bitcoin.com/get-started/what-are-transactions-fees/

https://www.bitpanda.com/academy/en/lessons/what-does-mining-difficulty-mean/

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/business/tens-of-billions-worth-of-bitcoin-have-been-locked-by-people-who-forgot-their-key

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bitcoin-millionaire-aged-just-14-28476081

https://www.cnbctv18.com/cryptocurrency/around-80-percent-of-bitcoin-investors-have-lost-money-says-a-study-15347461.htm

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Kane Pepi

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…