There remain almost precisely one million bitcoin mined in 2009 which have not moved, widely assumed to belong to Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s inventor.
Another 1.4 million bitcoin was mined in 2010 and 2011, with the rest then mined up to 2016.
“Over $140 billion in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency is currently lost or inaccessible,” UK’s National Cybersecurity Council (NCSC) said.
It’s not clear how they reached the conclusion all of these are lost because just last year some bitcoin miners signed 145 bitcoin addresses mined in 2009 to show ownership.
As evidence, NCSC cited some American programmer who has only two more tries left for the password to $220 million bitcoin.
NCSC’s solution is to get a paperwallet, which is fairly sound advice as long as you can secure it and remember where you put it.
Many of these coins were probably lost in the early days when bitcoin’s value was in pennies.
Plenty just wiped their hard-drive or uninstalled the bitcoin software, especially coders who were just trying to see what this is, thinking nothing of the penny bitcoin they got.
Since at least 2013 however great care is now taken to secure holdings so as to avoid landfill expeditions.
Moreover this 4 million figure is interesting because in December 2019 we reported 4 million had not moved in five years and now a year later, it’s still 4 million in five years.
That means one million has moved and another one million has been added through the passage of time.
Suggesting much of this four million may be holders, and as time passes, some get out of the holding group while some others join.
Making the stability of this four million interesting as in effect it reduces bitcoin’s total supply by 22%.