The cryptocurrency tracker Blockchain.com has reported that, as of Monday, 18,89 million of Bitcoin have been mined, breaching the 90% mark of the 21 million BTC total supply.
For context, Bitcoin is earned by a process called “mining”. This is where computers and mining-specific machines solve complex mathematical equations, and thus, confirm the transactions happening on the blockchain.
This type of “earning” model is called Proof of Work. It involves the aforementioned network participants - “miners” -, and the rewards are distributed with each block mined, depending on how many resources are dedicated to the mining process.
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Worth mentioning, however, that while 90% of the total Bitcoin supply has already been mined, it is expected that the last Bitcoin will be mined sometime in 2140. This is due to what is known as “Bitcoin halving” - with time, it is becoming more and more difficult to mine a single Bitcoin, and thus, takes much longer to do.
At the same time, it’s also important to understand that there will probably never be all 21 million Bitcoin in circulation. This is because a lot of BTC has been lost without the chance to be recovered, and one shouldn’t forget the initial 1 million coins that belong to the creator of the cryptocurrency - Satoshi Nakamoto -, and that haven’t been moved since being mined.