How Many Bitcoins Are Lost?

5 min read

Many users in the cryptocurrency arena are curious about the number of bitcoins that have been mined and then lost. With a recent study by Chainalysis, he tells us that around 4 million bitcoins have been permanently lost and there is no way to recover them, they are no longer in circulation, but they are still counted in the total number of bitcoins that currently exist.

That is, of the 17.8 million that have been extracted so far, 4 million of these are lost. This includes the coins that have been lost due to forgetting the private keys, and also the 1.1 million bitcoins that Satoshi and deaths of users who never communicated to their relatives that they had a virtual wallet.

Lost Bitcoin

1.1 million BTC owned by Satoshi.

7,500 BTC lost by a thrown away harddisk.

1,000 BTC lost by the death of the QuadrigaCX CEO.

533 BTC lost by a Reddit user.

2,100+ BTC are sent to this burn address.

Those users who have lost around 20% of all existing tokens, and unlike fiat money that can simply print more, these tokens will be lost just like a buried treasure without a map to find it, this is due to the structure of the cryptocurrencies and the emphasis that is placed on privacy and security. Although this does not have a great impact on the cryptocurrency market.

The Cost of Security

The fact is that bitcoin investors usually store their tokens in digital wallets, which are protected by cryptography and are accessible only through the private key, it is extremely difficult for other users to access if they do not have the private key. Normally this is something that everyone wants, there are also wallets that connect to your computer through hardware, they are very similar to a USB. These are the safest to store your cryptocurrencies, but if your user loses the private key, they will permanently lose all their cryptocurrencies.

This has caused the creation of some wallet hunters that aim to help those who have lost the private key of their virtual wallet, these hunters have a fee of 5% to 40% of the recovered funds, and use various tools to help Finding this password, some of its techniques range from checking the user’s hardware to testing the brute force of trying random words to find the right one.

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Negligible Broader Impact

For users who misplace a wallet or key, the process can be overwhelmingly frustrating. However, the misplacement and potential loss of 20% of all BTC tokens should have little effect on the broader cryptocurrency industry.

 Bitcoin is easily split into very small denominations, unlike fiat currency. This allows for loss of a sizable quantity of BTC without an overall impact on the currency itself. Even given that miners are approaching the final BTC, the rate of loss of tokens can continue for years without there being any sort of impact on the functionality of the coin.

Indeed, even if there were very few individual tokens, the protocol for how BTC can be divided could be adjusted to facilitate its continued functioning. Of course, this doesn’t help those people who have lost their tokens.

Estimate of the total number of bitcoins lost

Reports from various websites say that there is a total of 17.5 million bitcoins in circulation at the moment. This number is just an imaginary number that only represents the maximum number of bitcoins mined and does not take into account the lost coins. Some users are interested in this as the less bitcoin the higher the price. In its early days, users lost bitcoins, burned them, stole them, or forgot their password.

This is good for all cryptocurrency users since it is almost as if they donated them to increase the total price of bitcoin, it is calculated that the more coins are permanently lost the price will rise. This applies to coins lost in their entirety and not those that can eventually be recovered or found.

like unspent outputs such as the 50 BTC locked in the first block. The result is that those 50 BTC are not present in Bitcoin’s ledger, even if they are visible in a transaction included in the main chain, there are also duplicate coins, unclaimed rewards and OP_Return with all this information We can only give an approximation 4 million of course is not the real number of bitcoins lost.