Last Bitcoin to Be Minted Around 2140

By Aleksandra Wilson
3 min read September 15, 2021

The Background

What will happen after the last Bitcoin has been minted? Since the emergence of Bitcoin, it was stated that the maximum amount of coins to be minted was as high as 21 million. So, what will happen after that? That’s what many traders, as well as miners, are beginning to wonder. What’s next? Once the supply has reached the maximum level, the miners will not longer receive block rewards, at least not the way they received them so far. Miners will be rewarded with fees from transactions, and this considering that there are no significant changes in the protocol of Bitcoin until then. 

There will only ever exist 21 billion coins of Bitcoin. When the last Bitcoin has been mined, which is predicted to happen sometime around 2140, there won’t be anymore Bitcoins entering the circulation. The principle that the blockchain of Bitcoin was created around is that of a controlled supply. It means that there’s already a fixed amount of new coins being issued each year until the grand total of 21 million coins has been reached. Once this happens, the network, in general, will keep operating the same way, except the significant change for miners.

The Miner’s Reward

Every ten minutes or so, the miners who work with Bitcoin discover a block. They solve the puzzle of cryptography that enables the miner to attach a new block to the blockchain. Every block is formed by a bunch of records of transactions waiting in the pool of memory of Bitcoin. They get chosen often because of the size of the fee they can bring to miners. Every time a miner discovers a block, they receive an established amount of Bitcoin for their contribution. That is known as the “block reward.” 

Mining Bitcoin

First, the reward was 50 Bitcoins, but every time 210,000 new blocks are discovered, the reward gets cut by half. That happens more or less in a time frame of four years. The reward has already been cut a few times, first to 25 BTC, then 12.5 BTC to currently be at 6.25 BTC. The last cut happened in May 2020, and the next one is expected to occur in 2024. 

So What Happens After the Last Bitcoin?

After the last Bitcoins have been issued, miners will be able to keep participating in the process of discovering blocks. The main difference is that the reward will not be the same, but there will still be a reward for them. The miners will receive a fee spent on the transactions in every new block. They currently make as little as 6.5% of revenue out of those fees, but by 2140, it should go up to 100%.

Will this disincentivize people from mining? Only time will tell. For now, miners are taking advantage of the situation while they still can do it. Until the day that the last Bitcoin gets minted, something is for sure we still have a long way to go, and many things can change. Nothing is set in stone, especially when it comes to technology development. But bottom line, it seems more and more real that crypto has come to stay with us.

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