Bitcoin (BTC) is an online currency that has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Unlike traditional currencies, Bitcoin is not regulated by governments or central banks. Instead, it is underpinned by a technology called blockchain, which records all transactions on a public ledger. This makes BTC incredibly secure and virtually impossible to counterfeit.
The value of Bitcoin has also been increasing rapidly in recent years, making it a potentially lucrative investment opportunity. However, as with any investment, there are risks involved so please do your own research before investing!
But despite all of the attention it’s gotten, there are still plenty of surprising things about bitcoin that many people don’t know. Here we will discuss some of those surprising facts and shed some light on bitcoin for anyone who isn’t familiar with it.
6 Surprising Facts About Bitcoin (BTC)
Around 20% of Bitcoin has been lost forever
A shocking number of Bitcoin has gone missing. As much as 20% of the entire supply, to be exact, according to a report by crypto data firm Chainalysis. Today, that would be 3.76 million BTC (worth about $190 billion).
This number is staggering when you consider that there are only 21 million total Bitcoins available.
The reasons for these losses can be attributed to several possibilities.
First, about 1.1 million BTC is held by the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. The majority of these coins have never moved since their original deposit.
Secondly, there are people who died without sharing access to their Bitcoin. They may have lost the password to their hardware wallet, or had the password locked in some kind of digital will, but they didn’t get around to it before they passed on.
Thirdly, lost keys. Crypto keys are like a bank account PIN, and you need them to access or trade your coins. Unfortunately, there’s no handy “forgot password” function. So if you lose your keys, you’re unlikely to see those coins again.
It is a common experience for cryptocurrency users to lose their crypto keys. This can be due to users forgetting or losing their private keys, and in some cases it is caused by hackers who deactivate access to the wallet and delete its backup files.
A lost key means that you will not be able to recover your coins or use them. The coins associated with the lost key will remain locked forever in the network, because only someone who owns the private key can access them.
There have been 673 million Bitcoin transactions
Blockchain.com reports that 673 million Bitcoin transactions have taken place since Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, and that number has been increasing more steeply in recent years. As of the time of this writing, 262,421 transactions had taken place every day.
Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador
El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021. Bitcoin will complement, but not replace, the U.S. dollar as a form of payment in El Salvador.
Every El Salvadorian who opened an electronic wallet would receive $30, but many citizens protested the whole scheme, and the World Bank refused to assist with implementation because of environmental and transparency concerns.
The last Bitcoin will be mined in 2140
There is a limit of 21 million Bitcoins, which is built into the coin’s code or DNA. Currently, 18.8 million have been mined, but, as mentioned above, some have already been lost.
Since the number of possible Bitcoins is halved every four years through Bitcoin mining, almost 90% of the coins that can be mined are already in circulation. It will then take another 120 years or so to mine the remaining 2.2 million coins.
A pizza purchase was the first commercial Bitcoin transaction
In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC, which was worth about $41 at the time. This was the first commercial Bitcoin transaction and Bitcoin Pizza Day has been commemorated each year since then.
The 10,000 BTC would be worth over $500 million today, which is perhaps why this story has become part of Bitcoin folklore.
There are almost 100,000 Bitcoin millionaires
Because wallets are anonymous and Bitcoin’s price fluctuates, it’s difficult to know how many bitcoin millionaires there are. But according to BitInfoCharts, there are currently 98,180 addresses with BTC worth $1 million or more in them.
Forbes included 12 cryptocurrency billionaires on its 2021 Billionaires List, including the Winklevoss twins and FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried.
So whether you're already familiar with bitcoin or you're just learning about it for the first time, there's no doubt that this unique online currency is definitely worth keeping an eye on.