Bitcoin (BTC) is an astonishing phenomenon in and of itself. It showed us that it’s possible to have a digital currency that doesn’t rely on banks or governments. Plus, the blockchain technology that enables Bitcoin could transform various industries, from finance to healthcare.
1. Around 20% of Bitcoin has been lost forever
According to crypto data firm Chainalysis, around 20% of BTC has been lost or is stuck in wallets that can’t be accessed. Today that equates to 3.76 million BTC (worth about $190 billion).
If you’re wondering how that’s possible, there are a few ways. First, about 1.1 million BTC is held by the top coin’s anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Decrypt. The consensus is that Nakamoto won’t ever touch those coins.
Sadly, some people passed away without sharing access to their Bitcoin, which accounts for another chunk of out-of-circulation coins.
2. 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. That number has increased more steeply in recent years. At the time of this writing, an average of 265,714 transactions took place each day.
3. Brock Pierce took out the first Bitcoin mortgage in 2019
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur and former child actor of The Mighty Ducks fame, is said to be the first person to take out a fully crypto-based mortgage. The crypto enthusiast put up over 3 million BTC to buy a renovated chapel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
More recently, in the U.S., United Wholesale Mortgage announced it would accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as mortgage payments. It plans to roll out its crypto payment option by the end of the year.
4. Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador
On Sept. 7, El Salvador became the first country to accept BTC as legal tender. President Nayib Bukele announced the controversial move at Bitcoin Miami earlier this year. Bitcoin joins, but will not replace, the U.S. dollar as a form of payment in the country.
The government promised that each citizen who opened a national digital wallet would receive $30, but many El Salvadorians have protested the whole plan. And the World Bank refused to help the country with implementation due to environmental and transparency concerns.
5. There are almost 100,000 Bitcoin millionaires
It’s difficult to know for sure how many Bitcoin millionaires — or billionaires — there are because wallets are anonymous and the price of BTC fluctuates, sometimes wildly. But according to BitInfoCharts, there are currently 98,180 addresses with BTC worth $1 million or more in them.
Forbes included 12 cryptocurrency billionaires on its 2021 Billionaires List, including the Winklevoss twins and FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried.
6. A pizza purchase was the first commercial Bitcoin transaction
On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas — worth about $41 at the time. This was the first commercial BTC transaction and is now commemorated through Bitcoin Pizza day each year.
At today’s prices, that 10,000 BTC would be worth over $500 million — which is perhaps the real reason the story has become part of BTC folklore.
7. The last Bitcoin will be mined in 2140
Only 21 million Bitcoin can ever be produced. It’s built into the coin’s code or DNA. Right now, about 18.8 million have been mined, though as we saw above, some of them are already lost.
The way BTC mining works, the number of BTC that can be mined gets halved every four years. This means that although almost 90% of the total possible BTC is already in circulation, it will take another 120 years or so to produce the remaining 2.2 million coins.