The Bitcoin blockchain was designed around the principle of controlled supply, which means only a fixed number of newly minted Bitcoin can be mined each year until a total of 21 million coins have been minted.
Once all 21 million BTC have been mined, the network will largely operate the same as it does now, but with one crucial difference for miners.
When will the last Bitcoin be mined?
Approximately every ten minutes, Bitcoin miners ‘discover’ a new block, solving a cryptographic puzzle that allows the successful miner to add the newly discovered block to the blockchain. This block is filled with transactions that were previously waiting in the Bitcoin memory pool, usually chosen based on the size of the transaction fee they provide to miners.
In return for discovering a block, the miner receives a fixed Bitcoin block reward. When Bitcoin first launched, the reward was set at 50 BTC—but it halves periodically, after 210,000 new blocks have been discovered. That happens roughly every four years, reducing the reward to 25 BTC, 12.5 BTC, 6.25 BTC, and so on. Three halvings have been completed so far; the most recent Bitcoin halving occurred on May 11, cutting the block reward to 6.25 BTC.
Bitcoin miners will be able to continue earning