90% of All Bitcoin Mined as Mining Difficulty Reaches a Lifetime High

Jack Choros

Content Marketing

Anyone familiar with the digital asset space knows that Bitcoin has a finite amount of coins it will produce in order to reduce inflation and promote the longevity of bitcoin. 

There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin, with mining payouts cut in half to limit the supply of new coins. This process is known as the Bitcoin halving and occurs after every 210,000 blocks are mined.

The first halving occurred in 2012 with the next one estimated to take place in 2024. Interestingly, the final coin is predicted to be mined around 2140. Following the mining of the final block, miners will be rewarded with just transaction fees.

During the first bitcoin having, the reward was 50 bitcoin, which is currently worth nearly $3 million CAD. Now, the reward for mining one Bitcoin block is 6.25 bitcoin or around $400,000 CAD. In the next halving (in 2024), the reward for mining a block will fall to 3.125  bitcoin.

More recently, the 19 millionth bitcoin was mined, meaning that over 90% of all bitcoin is now in circulation. This has also led to an increase in mining difficulty, at block height 729,792 for the first time since February 17th. The difficulty to mine raised 4.31%. But what does it mean that mining is now more difficult? 

Mining Difficulty & Why It Is Important

Mining difficulty refers to how challenging it is for mining participants to find a block reward. It was created to ensure block times are approximately ten minutes apart with the difficulty adjustment algorithm altering every two weeks.

This process is essential in maintaining consistency in the network. As new participants enter the network and the hashrate increases, the difficulty adjustment algorithm readjusts higher making it more difficult for miners to find a block reward.

Conversely, if the opposite happens and the hashrate subsides, the difficulty adjustment algorithm decreases, making it easier for mining participants.

The 4.31% increase lately is the first increase in over a month. The current difficulty adjustment algorithm readjusts every 2018 blocks, with 1,682 blocks remaining until the expected readjusting on April 13th.

With the mining difficulty’s lifetime highs, it has become harder than ever for mining pools to find a block reward. At the time of writing this, there are only 11 known mining powers with computational power dedicated to the network – 1.99% of the global hashpower or 3.91 EH/s is owned by unknown mining entities.

This lifetime high occurred a day before the mining of the 19 millionth Bitcoin, with miners discovering 19,000,592.18 bitcoin so far as the issuance remains at 1,999,193.73 Bitcoin.

Written by: Jack Choros

Writer, content marketing at Netcoins.