There’s a lot of talk about Bitcoin lately. Whether you’re for it or against it, there’s no doubt that this cryptocurrency is one of the world’s most discussed and polarizing topics today. However, we will not be praising or criticizing anyone in our article. No, today we’re going to present some interesting Bitcoin facts that even hardcore crypto-fans might not know.
Interesting Facts About Bitcoin – Editor’s Choice
- The last Bitcoin will be mined around 2140.
- Between 14% and 20% of bitcoins are considered lost forever.
- The total quantity of data kept on the blockchain is nearly 430 GB.
- Every 10 minutes, a miner is rewarded with a new Bitcoin.
- El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.
- The Bitcoin network is estimated to use around 95 TWh of electricity annually.
What Is Bitcoin?
Before we get to the stats, let’s just explain what Bitcoin (BTC) is in case you are new to digital currencies. Simply put, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital asset and a payment system. It was created in 2008 by an anonymous person or group under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
What makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies special is that they aren’t subject to central financial authorities or banks. This means that no one can control or manipulate its price, at least not in the traditional way. Transactions are also fast and affordable. And last but not least, it is completely anonymous, which has made it a popular choice for privacy-minded people.
Now that you’re all caught up let’s talk about some Bitcoin facts and figures!
1. The first Bitcoin was mined on January 3, 2009.
As we mentioned, the creation of Bitcoin was accredited to a person or a group under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who released a paper titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System on October 31, 2008. This document outlined the use of a decentralized peer-to-peer protocol that couldn’t be decrypted.
One interesting fact about Bitcoin is that it’s still unknown who is behind the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Many people have attempted to identify Bitcoin’s founder, but no one has succeeded, and the mysterious figure’s identity remains unknown to this day.
2. The last Bitcoin will be mined around 2140.
Unlike fiat currency, you can’t print more Bitcoin whenever you need more money, thus creating inflation. Only 21 million BTC can exist in total, and 19,149,537 BTC have already been mined as of September 2022. The last BTC is expected to be mined around the year 2140.
As a protection measure from inflation, the BTC network has a built-in mechanism that makes it more difficult to mine each new Bitcoin as time passes. This process is called “halving,” and it happens every 210,000 blocks (roughly every four years).
3. On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 BTC.
At the time, this much Bitcoin was worth around $41. Today, those pizzas would be worth over $200 million! The event is considered to be the first commercial Bitcoin transaction. The event went down in Bitcoin history as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”
That said, Laszlo did not go to a shop or purchase pizza online and pay with BTC. He made a famous post on the Bitcoin Forum asking for someone to buy him two pizzas in exchange for 10,000 BTC. It will be some time before companies decide to accept digital currency as a valid currency.
Hanyecz later said that he had no idea that Bitcoin would grow to be worth so much. He just wanted to prove that it could be used as a currency to buy real-world goods. And while his experiment was successful, we doubt he’s not regretting his decision in hindsight.
4. Between 14% and 20% of bitcoins are considered lost forever.
(River Financial, Independent)
While the total supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, it’s estimated that a large chunk of those will never be in circulation again. This is because they have gone missing due to people losing their private keys or forgetting about them altogether.
With so many lost coins, how many bitcoins are there still? Considering the total amount of all the coins is 21 million and between 14% and 20% are lost, this leaves us with somewhere between 16.8 and 18.1 million in circulation. Of course, this is only an estimate. Nobody can tell you for sure how much BTC is currently in circulation.
The most famous example of BTC being lost forever is James Howells, who accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 BTC. At the time of writing this article, they are worth more than $150 million!
5. Five addresses hold more than 778,000 BTC combined.
While the number of Bitcoin addresses with a BTC balance has been steadily increasing over the years, Bitcoin user statistics show that the top five addresses hold a total of 778,627 BTC at the moment of writing this article. Those addresses belong to Satoshi, Bitfinex, MicroStrategy, Binance, and an unknown owner.
It’s important to note that an address doesn’t necessarily represent a single person or entity. A person can also have multiple addresses, and exchanges like Binance would have a large number of BTC in their wallets.
In any case, it’s fascinating to see that such a large amount of BTC is concentrated in so few hands. Anyone with over 10,000 BTC is considered a Bitcoin whale in the Bitcoin community.
6. Bitcoin is divisible.
While there can only be a finite number of Bitcoins, each BTC can be divided into 100 million smaller units called “satoshis.” This makes Bitcoin very flexible and equally suitable for day-to-day transactions and larger ones.
The idea of divisibility is one of the key concepts behind Bitcoin. Just like you can divide a physical dollar bill into smaller denominations, you can do the same with BTC. The only difference is that, with Bitcoin, you don’t need to carry around a physical wallet full of cash. Instead of it, you would create and use a Bitcoin wallet.
7. Bitcoin is pseudonymous, not anonymous.
One of the most important Bitcoin facts to know is that Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency transaction isn’t anonymous but rather pseudonymous. This means that your transactions are not tied to your real-world identity but your public address on the blockchain, but that address and its transactions are clearly visible to everyone.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it makes Bitcoin much more private than traditional payment methods like credit cards or bank transfers.
8. Bitcoin is transparent.
Speaking of facts about Bitcoin that many people aren’t aware of, here’s another one: all Bitcoin transactions are public, traceable, and indefinitely kept on the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address.
However, they will not be able to see the real-world identity of the person behind that address. Still, if you, say, use Bitcoin at online retailers that also require personal details from their customers, it will create a possible link for law enforcement agencies (or any other interested parties) to help connect your online persona with your real identity.
9. Total data size on the blockchain is nearly 430 GB.
The Bitcoin blockchain is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are added with a new set of records. As of September 2022, the size of the blockchain was about 427 gigabytes. It’s important to note that this number will only grow as more people use Bitcoin, so the number may be much higher by the time you read this.
10. Every 10 minutes, a miner is rewarded with a new Bitcoin.
The process of creating a new Bitcoin is called “mining.” When mining Bitcoins, miners are compensated in BTC for validating and adding transactions to the blockchain. The current reward for a successfully mined block is 6.25 BTC.
This number will be halved every four years until 2140, when the entire supply of 21 million bitcoins will be mined. The most important Bitcoin mining fact for any newcomer or experienced miner alike is that the next halving will be in May 2024, and the new reward after that will be 3.125 coins per block.
11. In 2022, there were, on average, over 250,000 Bitcoin transactions per day.
The number of Bitcoin transactions per day has been steadily increasing since the early days of cryptocurrency, with occasional dips influenced by market conditions. In January 2015, there were around 90,000 transactions per day, which grew to a staggering 400,000+ by January 2021 before dropping significantly later that year.
The reason for the steady overall increase is simple, though: as more and more people start using Bitcoin, the number of transactions also increases.
12. El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.
(The New York Times)
Although using Bitcoin is not prohibited in most nations, it is typically unregulated. Until recently, not a single country in the world accepted Bitcoin as a legal currency.
In September 2021, El Salvador became the first to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, while the Central African Republic became the second to do so. Will this mark the turning point in Bitcoin history when governments start adopting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies en masse? Well, no.
The move was made in an effort to boost economic growth and reduce poverty in both countries, and we can see that in the case of El Salvador, it didn’t change anything. Citizens downloaded the government-backed payment app only to get a one-time bonus of $30. Except being another fun Bitcoin fact, it doesn’t look like the project will be sustainable for much longer.
13. Most Bitcoin ATMs can be found in the US.
Most Western countries consider trading and using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, legal but don’t consider them legal tender.
Even so, most Bitcoin ATMs can be found in North America, with the United States having over 34,000 and Canada more than 2,600. Spain is in 3rd place with just over 250 ATMs.
14. The Bitcoin network uses around 95 TWh of electricity annually.
(The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance)
Like almost everything in our tech-driven society, Bitcoin requires energy. Whether you are mining or just trading, it will use some. An unsurprising but interesting Bitcoin stat shows that mining consumes the most energy of all Bitcoin-related activities. But how much power does it consume?
The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance created a Bitcoin electricity consumption index which estimates the power consumption based on the price of Bitcoin and the price of power, so the estimate varies widely, which is expected. Nobody can tell you exactly how much power the network consumes, sadly.
Their estimate shows that the entire Bitcoin network consumes anywhere from 70.23 TWh to 615.64 TWh. Keep in mind that these statistics represent the theoretical lowest and highest numbers. The value displayed here is for when the energy price is one cent per kWh, which is unrealistic in the current economy.
The more realistic estimate uses the average world price of five cents per kWh. The consumption is estimated to be 94.82 TWh, with the theoretical lowest being 17.78 TWh and the highest 155.86TWh. This means that if the Bitcoin network were a country, it would rank as the 33rd largest electricity consumer in the world.
This interesting Bitcoin energy fact is often taken out of context by news outlets and represented as a negative. However, the reality is that the Bitcoin network is still relatively small compared to other energy-consuming industries.
For example, the yearly consumption of iron and steel is 1,233 TWh, the cement industry is 384 TWh, the gold mining sector 131 TWh, and all refrigerators in the United States consume 104 TWh. When we take into account the total energy production in the world of 167,716 TWh, the Bitcoin network only uses up 0.15%
15. The Bitcoin network is more powerful than a supercomputer.
Another interesting fact about Bitcoin is that its network is significantly beefier in processing power than the most powerful supercomputer in the world. In fact, it is estimated that the total computing power of the Bitcoin network is about a million times greater than the world’s top 500 supercomputers combined!
This massive computational power allows the Bitcoin network to operate without a central authority. It also makes Bitcoin incredibly secure, as it would be virtually impossible for anyone to attack the network and tamper with the data, especially not unnoticed.
So how does all this computational power get used? Well, every time a transaction is made, it needs to be verified by the computers on the Bitcoin network. This process is known as “mining.”
Mining is how new bitcoins are created. When miners successfully verify a block of transactions, they are rewarded with a certain number of bitcoins. The current reward for each block is 6.25 bitcoins.
Despite its incredible computing power, the Bitcoin network can’t be used as a supercomputer, and all that combined computing power is only reserved for verifying Bitcoin transactions.
What is so special about Bitcoin?
There are many unique things about Bitcoin, key facts that make it special.
Firstly, it’s decentralized: There is no central authority controlling Bitcoin. Instead, it is an open network that anyone can participate in. It’s anonymous and secure: Bitcoin uses cutting-edge cryptography to ensure the security and privacy of each transaction. Its supply is also finite: there will only ever be 21 million BTC, and once the last one has been mined, that’s it.
Finally, it’s a global currency: Bitcoin can be used anywhere in the world, and many online vendors accept it as a valid currency.
Who owns the most Bitcoin?
Just five Bitcoin wallets store nearly 800,000 BTC combined, as mentioned in our “15 Bitcoin Facts You Need To Know” post above. The famous crypto exchange Binance has the largest cold wallet, holding 252,597 BTC, or 1.32% of all bitcoins as of September 2022.
What is the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum?
Bitcoin and Ether are both decentralized digital currencies. However, there are a few key differences between the two platforms. First, Ethereum offers a more versatile scripting language that allows developers to build more complex applications on top of it.
Second, Ethereum has a much faster transaction speed than Bitcoin. Finally, Ethereum just launched a new validation system called Proof of Stake, potentially making it more energy efficient than Bitcoin as it will essentially take GPU mining out of the equation.
Remember that while Bitcoin is the name of both the currency and the network, Ethereum refers to the cryptocurrency platform, while the coin itself is called Ether.