Bitcoin watchers are expecting the landmark mining of the 17thmillion token within a few days.
That pushes bitcoin even further down the path towards scarcity as the software will only allow 21 million Bitcoins in circulation.
Once that level is reached, mining shuts down.
Hitting 17 million is a milestone for the cryptocurrency. The total hit 16 million in 2016 and is predicted to hit 21 million in 2040.
Miners release new coins at the rate of around 1,800 day, so predicting the milestones is more a guess than a science.
But as each milestone is reached, the number of bitcoin released is halved, slowing down the rate of acquisition, so releasing the final 4 million will be nowhere near as quick as mining the first 17 million.
So where does that leave Bitcoin?
The important takeaway from hitting the 17thmillion token is around 81% of all Bitcoin will have been mined sometime during the next few days and that only a fifth remains in reserve.
That scarcity is bound to drive up the price as investors realise the available amount is finite.
That makes bitcoin scarcer than gold or diamonds – two other primary value stores for investors.
After all, mining companies have reserves and seams of the gems and precious metal to tap if they want to release more. They can also manipulate the market by stockpiling their resources.
Bitcoin has been with us since January 3, 2009 – when the creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first 50 coins.
Surge in popularity
Since then, the cryptocurrency has surged in price and popularity – from a fringe enigma to a term on almost everyone’s lips in 2018.
As for price, unless someone comes up with a way of mining more than 21 million bitcoins, the only way is up. Bitcoin has faltered since the last weeks of 2017, when the price of a coin flipped to almost $20,000.
Now, the value is nearer $9,000, but the law of supply and demand will surely drive that figure up in years to come. The only way more bitcoin can come into being is if everyone on the bitcoin network agrees to do so – and that’s more than unlikely.
The only other asset that no one is making is land, as Mark Twain said.