How much Bitcoin is in circulation?

16 Wed, Feb 2022



Bitcoin’s total supply is limited by its software and will never exceed 21,000,000 coins. New coins are created during the process known as “mining”: as transactions are relayed across the network, they get picked up by miners and packaged into blocks, which are in turn protected by complex cryptographic calculations.

As compensation for spending their computational resources, the miners receive rewards for every block that they successfully add to the blockchain. At the moment of Bitcoin’s launch, the reward was 50 bitcoins per block: this number gets halved with every 210,000 new blocks mined — which takes the network roughly four years. As of 2020, the block reward has been halved three times and comprises 6.25 bitcoins.

Bitcoin has not been premined, meaning that no coins have been mined and/or distributed between the founders before it became available to the public. However, during the first few years of BTC’s existence, the competition between miners was relatively low, allowing the earliest network participants to accumulate significant amounts of coins via regular mining: Satoshi Nakamoto alone is believed to own over a million Bitcoin.

Mining Bitcoins can be very profitable for miners, depending on the current hash rate and the price of Bitcoin. While the process of mining Bitcoins is complex, we discuss how long it takes to mine one Bitcoin on CMC Alexandria — as we wrote above, mining Bitcoin is best understood as how long it takes to mine one block, as opposed to one Bitcoin.