When Will All Bitcoin Be Mined?

Written by Sean GraytokUpdated: 21st Nov 2021
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This article will identify when the last bitcoin will be mined and discuss how the industry will transform in a post-mining era.

When Will All Bitcoin Be Mined?

All 21 million bitcoin are expected to be mined sometime in the year 2140.

Bitcoin was created in 2009 and has already issued 90% of its supply, so you might be wondering why it’ll take another 120 years to issue the remaining 10% of coins.

The answer to this question is Bitcoin’s halving schedule: the rate of supply issuance is reduced by 50% every four years.

Will All the Bitcoin Be Mined?

More precisely, miners’ block subsidy to secure the network is halved after every 210,000 blocks.

The halvings result in an asymptotic total supply curve that will never actually reach 21,000,000. A number divided by two will get smaller and smaller, but it’ll never equal zero.

The block subsidy is the only way for new BTC to enter the supply.

Miners compete for a block reward paid to the miner that successfully adds a block of verified transactions to the existing chain.

The block reward consists of the block subsidy (currently 6.25 BTC) and the aggregate amount of transaction fees in the block they mined.

What Happens After All Bitcoins Are Mined?

Miners will no longer receive a block subsidy after all bitcoin is mined because no bitcoin will be left to issue.

When all BTC has been issued, it is theorized that adoption will have increased to a level where revenue from transaction fees is lucrative enough to keep miners on the network.

There would be plenty of transactions to process if billions of people used the Bitcoin network daily.

So, no more block subsidy for miners. But earning a percentage of a 5000 BTC transaction sounds good.

Post Bitcoin Mining: Lightning Network

Smaller and more frequent BTC transactions will likely occur on a layer two solution, such as the Lightning Network.

Every-day transactions, such as buying a coffee, do not necessarily require the security of the layer one blockchain.

Users on layer two will pay fewer fees because they don’t have the miners audit the transaction.

Lightning transactions can be instant, too, because users won’t have to wait for miner confirmations on layer one.

The Lightning Network can facilitate these smaller payments so the main chain can handle the transactions that do require security and the actual exchange of value.

Everybody wins: users pay less to nothing in fees for an instant transaction, and miners process the larger transactions on layer one to maximize their fee revenue.

Post-Mining: Frequently Asked Questions

Will bitcoin mining ever end?

Bitcoin mining will end once all 21 million BTC have been issued, expected to occur in 2140. Miners will still be paid to verify transactions, but they will not receive a block subsidy for their work.

How long does it take to mine 1 bitcoin?

The Bitcoin protocol adjusts the difficultyof mining to try and have 1 bitcoin mined every 10 minutes. The protocol increases or decreases the mining difficulty every 2016 blocks so that the average time between each block remains 10 minutes.

How many bitcoin will ever be mined?

There will be 21,000,000 bitcoin mined throughout Bitcoin’s lifespan. Each and every one of those mined bitcoin will be paid to miners for their work auditing the blockchain.

Is bitcoin getting harder to mine?

Bitcoin gets increasingly harder to mine as the incentives to mine rise, and more hash rate comes online. Satoshi mined the first block at a difficulty level of 1. Meaning he had a 1 of 1 probability of solving the cryptographic puzzle. Today, the difficulty level is around 22 trillion, equating to a 1 in 22 trillion probability of guessing a correct answer on the first try.

Bottom Line: When Will All Bitcoin Be Mined?

There you have it — some forecasts and some speculation. But who knows what Bitcoin will look like a decade from now, let alone 12 decades from now.

One thing’s for sure: block after block after block will continue to be mined.

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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice.

Sean Graytok
Sean Graytok

Sean Graytok is our Co-Founder and is a recognized expert in investing, cryptocurrency, and financial management. His work has been cited in leading industry publications, such as InvestorsPlace and Business Insider. Sean is interested in the people and companies who are driving financial innovation.