Some 17,851,288 bitcoin have been mined now, with just over ₿3 million left to go.
That’s about as many coins (₿5 million) as have not moved in the past 3 years, with more than ₿10 million not moving in a year.
Just circa half a million coins (about $5 billion) are now left to be mined until May next year when block rewards are halved to ₿6.25 from the current ₿12.5.
That will bring supply inflation to below 2% for the first time ever, tracking the FED’s target rate and that of the Bank of England in a decreasing manner until 2024.
Then blocks are to halve again to just above ₿3, bringing inflation somewhat close to zero, with deflation kicking in due to lost coins or dust until 2140.
At that point, no more coins will be issued as the halving falls below 1 satoshi, reaching a very precise zero.
Transaction fees currently make up of only 2% of the entire block reward received by miners.
That translates to circa half a million dollars from a total of about $20 million worth of bitcoin received by miners per day.
Fees are to eventually be the entire block reward with the system self-adjusting through a somewhat complex algorithm designed to account for any increase in hashrate by increasing the difficulty per hash required to find a block.
At half a million a day, there would probably still be sufficient hashrate to secure the network just for fees, with just how much hashrate exactly is required to secure the network being a very complex estimate.
Since bitcoin’s invention, the network has never seen a 51% attack. Miners instead just turn off their hardware if it becomes unprofitable to mine. That in turn makes it more profitable for those that do not turn off their hardware.
At the current 69 quintillion hashes per second, a number that comes after trillion and quadrillion, the bitcoin network is arguably far too secure.
At just 2% of that, about 2 quintillion or exahashes, the network would probably be pretty secure.
That’s from fees alone, even now. Miners will however continue to enjoy about 6 bitcoin every ten minutes for four years after May 2020, and then for another four years they’ll have ₿3 after 2024.
It won’t be until 2032 that block rewards go below ₿1, that being about a decade from now.
By then almost all coins would have been mined, with bitcoin being very much deflationary. Still, after 2032 for four years miners will receive about ₿0.75 with it nearing zero in around 2040, two decades from now.
Considering we already have flying skateboards, then our flying cars will hopefully be made of gold mined from asteroids by then, with bitcoin probably developing through second layers like the Lightning Network, sidechains, automated value exchanges by coded machines, and god knows what else.
For now however, the first decentralized currency is entering a new era, an era of little inflation to mild deflation beginning next year.