6 Million BTC Lost or Stolen. Should Its Price Be Higher?


Published on 05 Jul. 2018
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This week, during the conference Building on Bitcoin, Jameson Lopp, the former leading engineer in BitGo and engineer in Casa HODL has mentioned an interesting detail. According to his calculations, 4 million bitcoins are lost, and 2 million are stolen.

By July 2018, Bitcoin blockchain has generally had 6 million BTC inaccessible or forever lost. Since the fork is impossible, the 28.5% of the whole fixed provision of Bitcoin is lost.

As a result, the maximum BTC offer cannot exceed 15 million coins. As for today, 17 million BTC is already mined, which means only 11 million left to be sent, used, transferred, received, or traded.

Does the Present Price Include the Lost Bitcoins?

Chainanalysis, the analytical company that specializes on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, was the first to announce in the interview with Fortune that 3.79 mln BTC had been already lost in the blockchain. They reported the number in November 2017.  

At the same time, Kim Grauer, the leading economist in Chainanalysis, said that one could not be sure whether the market price included lost Bitcoins because of quite a speculative feature of the cryptocurrency market. Grauer explained that the increase in demand could raise the price even higher in the long-term perspective and create a premium.   

Grauer stated:

This is a complicated question. From the one side, the direct calculations of the market capitalization don’t take into account the lost coins. Paying attention to the fact that the sphere is very speculative, these calculations of market capitalization can turn it into the economic model of the market, influenced by the expanse activity. Nevertheless, the market has adapted to the current demand and present offer, as we can see from the exchange behavior. More than that, this is a known procedure of monetary politics to reduce or increase the fiat reserves to influence the exchange rates. So the answer is both yes and no.  

Today, June 5, 2018, the price of Bitcoin is $6 675. The price is based on 17.13 million BTC that should have circulated on the market. However, if the offer of publicly available Bitcoin is actually 11 million, then BTC should have cost $10 300.

- according to coinmarketcap.com.

This also concerns the twice-reduced reward for the block since the fact that millions of Bitcoins are lost in the blockchain is widely known by the investors, and the current market may be demonstrating the capitalization that is lesser than the Bitcoin offer, reflected on the market.  

No More 21 Million Bitcoins

During the last two years, well-known cryptocurrency investors and analysts claimed that the price of Bitcoin could reach from $100 000 to several million since there were only 21 mln BTC that could ever exist.

The fixed offer of Bitcoin is one of the characteristics of its excellent storage value comparing to the traditional assets such as gold. And since there will be only 75% of Bitcoins, this fact could eventually affect the price of the cryptocurrency even more.


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