According to recent estimates, there is roughly 6 million BTC either lost or stolen

in bitcoin •  12 days ago

Bitcoin's market cap is currently based on roughly 17 million coins, though there is likely significantly less than that in circulation.

How much less you might be wondering?

According to Jameson Lopp, former lead engineer at BitGo, there is roughly 6 million bitcoin either lost or stolen.

He revealed his findings this week at the Building on Bitcoin Conference in Lisboa, Portugal:

(Source: https://www.ccn.com/6-million-bitcoin-is-lost-or-stolen-should-the-real-value-of-btc-higher/)

Specifically, Lopp said that as of July 2018, there are an estimated 4 million bitcoin lost forever and another 2 million stolen.

Leaving potentially 6 million coins excluded from the already small 17 million total supply that exists currently.

That is roughly 35% of the total supply potentially taken out of circulation!

What's more, if those coins do in fact never come back into circulation, that means that the final bitcoin supply total of 21 million coins will actually be significantly lower than that.

Roughly 30% lower.

Though, I am not sure why the stolen coins are included in this example.

Also Chainalysis has slightly different numbers on what they believe should be taken out of circulation:

(Source: http://fortune.com/2017/11/25/lost-bitcoins/)

They come in at just under 4 million coins lost forever.

Either way though, that means that all the analysts out there making bitcoin forecasts based on the total number of coins outstanding, and bitcoin taking a certain percentage of the gold market/fiat market/etc, would need to drastically adjust their prices skyward in order to actually price in the number of coins available.

Hmm, lets see an example!

For example, some analysts say that Bitcoin should take at least 10% of the gold market...

The gold market currently is worth north of $7 trillion, so 10% of that would be $700 billion (ish).

For bitcoin to have a $700 billion market cap, it would need to have a price of roughly $40,000 currently.

Though, if you factor in the fact that 30% of the coins are potentially lost forever, that new price prediction climbs to something in the range of $52,000.

Not too shabby eh?

That also means that even though 21 million bitcoin will exist in total, there will likely never be more than 15 million in circulation, possibly even less, as more get lost over the coming years.

Which means, if we start basing our market cap predictions on a 15 million total supply, those lofty price predictions may get a little more lofty. :)

Stay informed my friends.

Follow me: @jrcornel

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That 4 million coins lost number is probably a better number to use, not sure why those 2 million coins are also included in that "lost" number. Common sense would dictate that when coins are stolen they are not taken out of circulation forever, right?!

My question is, and remains, now that those coins are lost, can any of them every be recovered. If so, will that be downward pressure on the price when they eventually are recovered? Is there anyway this is already priced in and the coins being recovered would be a net negative? Anyways, just some thoughts.

Great analysis. I've always thought about this, but haven't looked at the specific numbers. McAfee might not be chowin down on his future after all.

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That is the hope! For several reasons.

Omg, any tips 😂😂

@jrcornel will this news effect the market as 6 million btc is lost in which 2 million btc are stolen so this is big news ?

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It is significant in that there is really not very much supply, even less than the numbers indicate. If a large amount of demand were to come in, prices would go much higher.

5 of those lost Bitcoins are mine. I had received 5 coins years ago when they were worth $0.02 each. After about 10 months of watching them, I lost interest and forgot about them.
I remembered them last fall when Bitcoin skyrocketed. I had moved twice since I'd received them. And in the last month sold almost all of my possessions so I could travel easily. I was able to find the encrypted wallet file on my old laptop, but none of the other information necessary to access it. Alas, I still haven't given up hope totally.

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Yikes. That extra $100k sure could come in handy I'm sure!

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Ohhhh, JR, you have no idea!!!

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I gave you an upvote on your post! Please give me a follow and I will give you a follow in return and possible future votes!

@jrcornel Great research, 6 million is a big number. Thanks for sharing this information with us

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Yes it is, I have a feeling it is closer to 4 million currently, though by the time bitcoin creates 21 coins, perhaps it will be 6 million lost by then.

Your post is informative for us. Thanks @jrcornel

Shit happens :D

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Yea, I can't imagine being one of the owners of those 4-6 million lost bitcoins...

The stolen coins are still in circulation in my opinion.

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Kinda my thoughts as well. Not sure why Lopp included them in his lost forever category.

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If you'd steal money from the bank you wouldn't burn it, do you?

Great point! Last I heard it was 4 million. Resteemed, friend.

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Yes, it is roughly 4 million that are lost at this point, though another 2 million are considered stolen. Not sure exactly why those are included though. Need to dig a bit further.

That also means that even though 21 million bitcoin will exist in total, there will likely never be more than 15 million in circulation, possibly even less, as more get lost over the coming years.

Yes, thank you guys for losing Bitcoin!

So much of stolen btc can benefit users?

Talk about scarcity!

The first 17 million over 9 years, the remaining 4 million over the next 120 years.

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Yep, I won't be around to see that final bitcoin created.

so, less supply more the price ... its a good news!! thanks for this valuable update.

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como con el petroleo si producen menos vale mas

Hmm, that btc can never be recovered right? which makes BTC even more scarce. Is there any other cryptocurrency that is lost too like BTC?

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Every crypto likely has loss coins. That is one of the negatives of crypto, there is no one to retrieve it since there is no central authority. You lose your master key are out of luck.

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You explained very well. Thank you, buddy.

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y entonces no hay cerrajeros para estos codigos? y no puede producir mas monedas btc disculpa las preguntas tan neófitas es que soy nuevecito..

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Not sure what this means?

This will be kind of interesting scenario when all the bitcoins will be mined the supply is not that much and getting lost this much amount makes me feel like its price gonna skyrocket high


I have thought for a while now that when computers get good enough we will have modern-day treasure hunters that will be recovering these lost coins.

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They could probably get some of those, though they would need the private keys to get others.

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Possibly using Xeon cluster and using each processor to try different range of possible private keys with single transaction in the block chain, it would be eventually possible. I've seen Xeon clusters work at least as fast as ASIC miners to find block hashes and that is basically the same.

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jajaja todo un universo nuevo para mi, pero como escritor puedo sacarle punta

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me encanta la idea

Think I will go out today and look for lost BTC!

2F080FC2-1420-4F64-B213-64FB5A471BAF.gif

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Did you find any?

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Little suckers are hiding! 😁😂😁

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Come into the light!

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Get in my belly! 😂💰😂