NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Bitcoin proponents are celebrating a new milestone achieved by the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency network. Despite many experts and critics citing environmental concerns over Bitcoin and predicting its ‘death’, the demand for the token seems to be going strong.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency network produced its 700,000th block on 11 September, amid growing predictions that Bitcoin will eventually die out because of newer and more environmentally sound cryptocurrencies. The time taken for creation of Bitcoin blocks could be a sign of demand. The network hit 600,000 on 18 October 2019, roughly two years after it hit 500,000 in 2017, which shows that at the very least, demand for Bitcoins has remained the same.
A Bitcoin block is like a page on the ledger of transactions happening on a network. Bitcoin miners validate blocks by solving a complex mathematical problems, and each time a block is completed by a miner, transactions are entered in it. Blocks are virtually immutable and will be created faster when the overall transactions on the network are high. Essentially, if miners aren’t able to create blocks fast enough, more and more Bitcoin transactions will be stuck in a queue, and will hence take longer to complete.
Miners are awarded new Bitcoin for completing a block, which then enter the current circulation. With the creation of the 700,000th block, about 89.5% of all Bitcoins—18,812,806—that will ever be produced are now in circulation. The reward to miners is halved roughly every four years and there will only be 21 million Bitcoins in circulation ever. The difficulty of the mathematical problem to be solved to create a block is also increased around every two weeks. Current estimates suggest that it will take till the year 2140 for all 21 million Bitcoins to be circulated.
All of this is hard-coded in the Bitcoin network and cannot be altered by anyone. The price of Bitcoin was around $8,000 in 2019 when the 600,000th block was mined, while it stood at around $45,000 when the 700,000th one was produced.
A popular Twitter account called Documenting Bitcoin, which posts important events on the network, posted a quote from the late Hal Finney, an early collaborator on Bitcoin who many have speculated was actually Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. “Every day that goes by and Bitcoin hasn’t collapsed due to legal or technical problems, that brings new information to the market. It increases the chance of Bitcoin’s eventual success and justifies a higher price,” Finney had said.
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