What Is Total Supply?
Total supply is defined as the total number of a specific cryptocurrency coin or token that has been created or mined. It can change over time as new coins or tokens are mined or issued or if some are burned or removed by mechanisms in the cryptocurrency’s protocol.
The total supply of a cryptocurrency is a key factor – along with circulating supply – that affects its market value. Crypto supply is an important concept for anyone looking to use or invest in a coin or token to understand.
Total supply is part of a cryptocurrency project’s tokenomics and influences its value proposition, pricing dynamics, market capitalization, and even its utility.
The total supply can be capped or uncapped. For instance, bitcoin (BTC) has a capped total supply of 21 million coins, which is hard coded into the blockchain protocol. This has created a scarcity that leads investors to treat bitcoin as “digital gold” or an asset that can hold its value over time. This contrasts with fiat currencies, which can be devalued by inflation.
Ethereum (ETH) does not have a fixed supply cap, although the transition to Ethereum 2.0 has introduced coin burning to reduce its supply and support its value over time.
Many other cryptocurrencies have an inflationary model, in which supply increases as new coins or tokens are continuously mined or created to incentivize miners, validators, and other participants to maintain the ecosystem.
Unlike circulating supply, total supply includes coins or tokens that are not available for use, such as those locked up or held in reserve by the development team for future release. Tokens can be locked in smart contracts until a particular milestone has been reached, such as certain stages of an initial coin offering (ICO), a specific vesting date, or a developer challenge is completed. Coins that are burned or destroyed are removed from the total supply.
Cryptocurrencies with uncapped or inflationary total supply can face challenges in maintaining their market value and attracting investors.
How Is Total Supply Calculated?
Total supply is calculated from the number of coins or tokens that currently exist – whether in circulating supply or locked. It is the total number of units created minus any that were burned. For instance, BNB coin (BNB) ‘s total supply is reduced each time Binance performs its quarterly coin burns.
A wide difference between total supply and circulating supply can indicate that there is a large number of coins or tokens that could be released into the open market in the future. This could weigh on the cryptocurrency’s value if the increase in supply outpaces demand.
As cryptocurrencies can have an uncapped total supply because of the mining or minting of new coins or tokens and because they can be burned or lost, the current total supply cannot be used as an indicator of a cryptocurrency’s maximum supply.
A crypto’s market price is affected by the supply in circulation, not the locked or reserved supply, so market capitalization is typically calculated from circulating supply and not total supply.
Total supply refers to the total number of cryptocurrency coins or tokens created. It differs from circulating supply, as it includes coins or tokens that are locked or held in reserve, and maximum supply, which is the total number that can ever be created.
Understanding total supply can help users and crypto investors determine the coin’s utility and whether it will be profitable.