The 16.8 millionth bitcoin was mined last weekend, leaving the network with just 20 percent of available Bitcoins up for mining from the total planned mining resources of 21 million coins.
There has been increased interested in cryptocurrencies in the recent past, without excluding mining operations. Many people see it as a lucrative way of earning revenue and many companies continue to sell or rent mining pools. However, mining hardware including cloud mining. In mining, new cryptocurrencies are from scratch by solving network problems or supporting the network. In which the nodes compete to create the next block or as usually known to process/confirm transactions.
However, Bitcoin mining uses Proof of Work consensus that makes it necessary to use specialized GPU cards. However, those are more expensive and large amount of electricity in solving the problems.
Therefore, it took about 18 years to mine 80 percent of Bitcoins apportioned for mining. But the last Bitcoin will probably be mine in 2040 according to estimates. Over the last 18 years since mining started, the number of coins in circulation was adjusting through a complex calibration of miner rewards and problem difficulty.
The reward is halving every 210,000 blocks. Halving increases problem difficulty and therefore, it gets harder to earn coins. For instance, it will reduce to 6.25 Bitcoins per block mined, from the original reward of 50 coins in 2012.
At the same time, miners earned $22.7 million cumulatively in transaction fees on December 21, 2017. It was right after the cryptocurrency reached a price of $20,000. This was due to an increase in transaction fees. Although many people complain that this is dangerous for the cryptocurrency. And the high fees could actually keep prices higher after the last coin is mining, according to Nicholas Gregory, CEO of CommerceBlock, speaking in December last year.
In fact, high fees might maintain scarcity and position it better as a store of value, wrote Jamie Redman, a reporter for bitcoin.com.
“Unlike your MP3s or digital movies, bitcoins cannot be same, and this weekend 16.8 million of them have been in mining. Lateron, hoarding and a large number of them have been lost. To many cryptocurrency investors, this makes Satoshi’s invention a very valuable digital asset, unlike anything the world has ever seen”.
But it is a double-edge problem because the same high fees keep many new and existing users off of the network. Especially because a fee of close to $30 per transaction would discourage the making of small payments and microtransactions.
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In fact, with that regard, many other networks including Blockchain are much better with a fee of less than $3.00. This is probably what affects the total number of transactions on the network. News just surfaced that Ethereum processes nearly half of all blockchain-based transactions, more than Bitcoin and other five blockchains combined.
But maybe Bitcoin might stay on attracting high-value transactions and keep the progress on.