Bitcoin (BTC) is an amazing phenomenon in itself. It showed us that it is possible to have a digital currency that does not depend on banks or governments. In addition, the blockchain technology which enables Bitcoin to transform various industries, from finance to healthcare.
Curious to know more about the first cryptocurrency? Here are some surprising facts about Bitcoin.
1. About 20% of Bitcoin has been lost forever
According to crypto-data firm Chainalysis, around 20% of Bitcoin has been lost or is stuck in inaccessible wallets. Today, that equates to 3.76 million BTC (worth around $ 190 billion).
If you are wondering how this is possible, there are several ways. First, around 1.1 million BTC is held by the anonymous creator of the first coin, Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Decrypt. The consensus is that Nakamoto will never touch these coins.
Sadly, some people have died without sharing access to their Bitcoin, which is another chunk of uncirculated coins.
Another culprit? Lost keys. Crypto keys are like a bank account PIN, and you need them to access or redeem your coins. Unfortunately, there is no convenient “forgot password” feature. So if you lose your keys, you are unlikely to see these parts again.
Hardware crypto wallets are a secure way to store your assets offline because they are difficult to hack. But if you lose the wallet, password, or recovery phrase, then goodbye to crypto. And there are several stories of people losing their wallets. In fact, a man in the UK believes his hard drive containing 7,500 BTC (around $ 380 million) is in his local landfill and has been trying to get permission to search there for years.
2. Brock Pierce took out the first Bitcoin mortgage in 2019
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur and former child actor of The Mighty Ducks, is said to be the first person to take out a fully crypto mortgage. The crypto enthusiast has invested over 3 million BTC to buy a renovated chapel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
More recently, in the United States, United Wholesale Mortgage announced it will accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as mortgage payments. It plans to roll out its crypto payment option by the end of the year.
3. There have been 668 million Bitcoin transactions
According to Blockchain.com, the total number of Bitcoin transactions since its launch in 2009 is 668 million. This number has increased more sharply in recent years. At the time of this writing, an average of 265,714 transactions have taken place each day.
4. Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador
On September 7, El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. President Nayib Bukele announced the controversial decision to Bitcoin Miami earlier this year. Bitcoin joins, but will not replace, the US dollar as a means of payment in the country.
The government promised that every citizen who opened a national digital wallet would receive $ 30, but many El Salvadorians protested the entire plan. And the World Bank refused to help the country with implementation due to environmental and transparency concerns.
5. The last Bitcoin will be mined in 2140
Only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be produced. It is integrated into the code or DNA of the part. As of now, around 18.8 million have been mined, although as we saw above some of them are already lost.
The way Bitcoin mining works, the number of Bitcoins that can be mined is halved every four years. This means that although almost 90% of the possible total of Bitcoin is already in circulation, it will still take around 120 years to produce the remaining 2.2 million coins.
6. A purchase of pizza was the first Bitcoin business transaction
On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas, valued at around $ 41 at the time. This was the first Bitcoin commercial transaction and is now commemorated annually on Bitcoin Pizza Day.
At today’s prices, that 10,000 BTC would be worth over $ 500 million – which may be the real reason why the story has become part of Bitcoin folklore.
7. There are nearly 100,000 Bitcoin millionaires
It is difficult to know for sure how many Bitcoin millionaires – or billionaires – there are because the wallets are anonymous and the price of Bitcoin fluctuates, sometimes dramatically. But according to BitInfoCharts, there are currently 98,180 addresses with BTC worth a million dollars or more.
Forbes included 12 cryptocurrency billionaires on his 2021 billionaire list, including FTX twins Winklevoss and Sam Bankman-Fried.
If these fun facts have tempted you to dip your toes in Bitcoin waters, check out our list of best cryptocurrency exchanges. But be sure to do your own research and invest only the money you can afford to lose. The price of Bitcoin can be extremely volatile; it might have made some people millionaires, but a lot of people also lost money because of cryptocurrency investments.
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Emma Newbery owns Bitcoin.
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