There’s a possibility that about 30% of the Bitcoins already mined have been lost over the years and could end up disappearing forever.
In the summer of 2017, about 60% of the Bitcoins mined were in circulation. Today, that percentage has gone up to 70%. That means that the remaining 30% can’t be traced.
5 Million Bitcoins Lost And Locked
According to Valentin Mihov of Santiment, in 2014, about 80% of the Bitcoin’s mined were in circulation. However, a lot of Bitcoins have been lost without a trace. One of the reasons for these huge losses is the story of hard drives that were thrown away while full of Bitcoins.
Before many people knew about Bitcoins, one could mine the coins even on a laptop, and since they were given out for free, many people didn’t attach much value to them.
About 2,000 BTC are known to have been thrown away along with laptop hard drives. However, going by the current 70% figure of the coins in circulation, it means that around million Bitcoins are unaccounted for.
A Million Coins For Satoshi
Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto is said to have mined around 1 million Bitcoins which have never been moved from their dormant wallet.
That raises the question of what would happen to those many coins if Satoshi is revealed to be dead – according to some people. If that turned out to be true, then those coins would be lost forever.
Also, there’s the issue of the dust coins – small amounts of Bitcoins that might have been lost because the transaction fees needed to get them out are higher than the coins’ value.
Around 25,000 Bitcoins have been lost this way. In addition, there are those coins lost as a result of people forgetting their private keys.