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Author Topic: Theoretically there will be exactly no bitcoins in the future.  (Read 2118 times)
BadGhost
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February 25, 2016, 04:15:44 PM
 #1

One thing that probably has not been thought of, during the creation of BTC, is that the number of Bitcoins will be slowly reducing to zero. There will be, in some time, 21KK BTC, but what about bitcoin that get lost? I mean hardware malfunctions. Wrong address transfers. Lost passwords. Forgotten wallets etc.

Do we know, how many of all Bitcoins is in circulations at this moment? I mean we can count the number that indicates how many it should be. We however do not know how many of them is inaccessible.

One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.
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February 25, 2016, 04:19:25 PM
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One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.
Here we go again. I don't understand why people worry about potential problems that won't happen in their lifetime. Bitcoin has many other problems that need addressing right now and in the foreseeable future. This is not something that we should be worried about right now, especially not when the reward per block is still high. Technically even if only 1 Bitcoin existed it could be users by millions of people due to it being very divisible.


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Yakamoto
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February 25, 2016, 04:19:47 PM
 #3

Well that's the point of a limited supply currency, there is a limited supply and it will keep being used/spent/lost until people give up on it or nothing is left.

This goes for gold and silver too, they keep wearing about and they slowly decrease, but there is a large enough supply that the impact is negligible. This is equally represented in Bitcoin. With the potential for 21m coins, at a predictable and limited rate, any losses that don't take out >50% of the current supply likely do not mean much.














 

 

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OmegaStarScream
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February 25, 2016, 04:20:43 PM
 #4

Losing coins shouldn't be an issue if people use their brains honestly , the only situation where it's not the holder fault is probably when he gets hacked .
Mt-gox , Cryptsy , other exchanges = Users fault because they should never store their coins in an online exchange , you trade ,then you withdraw , It's that simple .
Computer failure , Lost passwords , forgetting wallets and all that stuff = You always recover your wallet if you are using Electrum or Multibit HD for example . (even if you don't you could take other precaution so none of that happens to you) .

After saying that , I should remind you of what Satoshi said : "Lost coins only make everyone else’s coins worth slightly more. Think of it as a donation to everyone." .
People will learn the lesson with time , and people will be losing coins less then they did on the past .

BARR_Official
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February 25, 2016, 04:20:58 PM
 #5

Even if 10% of all usable bitcoins were lost every year, the number of usable bitcoins would never reach 0.

Or, if 100% of all bitcoins were lost every day for the next 100 years, the number of bitcoins would still remain above 0.

And yes, it's been discussed many times.


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Bitware
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February 25, 2016, 04:26:50 PM
 #6

The real question is, how do you prove that their bitcoins were in fact lost?

How do they prove beyond all contestation that they haven't lied about it and still secretly control the wallet addresses the allegedly "lost" bitcoins are stored in?

After all, the best of people will lie, cheat, and steal every moment of every day if they can gain from it.

That said, in the short term any "lost" bitcoins will simply make the rest of the bitcoins in circulation more valuable, and in the long term the precision can be lengthened to add more spendable units to the current supply.

21 million bitcoins equals 2,100,000,000,000,000 (21 quadrillion) spendable units of value.

Increasing the amount that can be mined higher than 21 quadrillion units of value should never be necessary, unless it's better than changing the precision... and even that should never be needed, but it's possible.
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February 25, 2016, 04:26:57 PM
 #7

lets assume that all bitcoin minus 0.21 are lost, now you will simply have that 1 satoshi = to one bitcoin

create another 100M divisors of one satoshi with an hard fork and you're good to go again
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February 25, 2016, 04:29:04 PM
 #8

Quoting Satoshi on this one:

Lost coins only make everyone else's coins worth slightly more.  Think of it as a donation to everyone.


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February 25, 2016, 04:32:55 PM
 #9

One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.
Here we go again. I don't understand why people worry about potential problems that won't happen in their lifetime. Bitcoin has many other problems that need addressing right now and in the foreseeable future. This is not something that we should be worried about right now, especially not when the reward per block is still high. Technically even if only 1 Bitcoin existed it could be users by millions of people due to it being very divisible.

I think in this worst case scenario, even that one last Bitcoin could be hard-forked to make more than 8 places after decimal right? If I remember correct what I read about the early days of Bitcoin there were not even 8 decimal places?


Edit:

I dug this up from old post. It seems that it was always 8 decimal places, but the client only showed/registered 2.

Hey,

So there is another thread asking about bc and decimal places. It is stated that the client(s) only show 2 decimal places, but there are 8 in total. Now, working on stuff, I find that it would be nice if I could transfer at least 4 decimals precision, but the full 8 would be great.

Looking at the code it seems simple enough to remove the rounding from bitcoind, but what about the receiving side? If it's a non UI client, then it will show everything, but would I be making things overly confusing for GUI clients?

Is there any shortcoming in me patching my client to handle full precision?
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February 25, 2016, 04:33:54 PM
 #10

Next generation miners will be treasure hunters. They will recover the lost coins. Smiley

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pedrog
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February 25, 2016, 04:35:36 PM
 #11

Next generation miners will be treasure hunters. They will recover the lost coins. Smiley

Quoting Satoshi again:

Lost coins only make everyone else's coins worth slightly more.  Think of it as a donation to everyone.

I wonder though, is there a point where the difficulty of generating a new coinbase is so high that it would make more sense to try to recover keys for lost coins or steal other people's coins instead?  The difficulty of that is really high so for now it makes a lot more sense to generate but I just wonder what the real figures are.. would that ever become more productive?  Maybe Satoshi can address this..
Computers have to get about 2^200 times faster before that starts to be a problem.  Someone with lots of compute power could make more money by generating than by trying to steal.

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February 25, 2016, 04:36:46 PM
 #12

I think in this worst case scenario, even that one last Bitcoin could be hard-forked to make more than 8 places after decimal right?
Correct. There is a maximum of ~2.1 quadrillion unique transaction units right now. This could be increased if necessary, but I doubt that it will ever be needed.

If I remember correct what I read about the early days of Bitcoin there were not even 8 decimal places?
I'm not sure about that.


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February 25, 2016, 04:39:34 PM
 #13

I haven't really thought of that but it is a possibility that can happen in the future.
It'd be nice to exactly know how much bitcoin is in circulation right now, but I believe that at this moment we don't have much many lost bitcoins.

But the next generation has to be smart to handle this.
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February 25, 2016, 04:51:04 PM
 #14

One thing that probably has not been thought of, during the creation of BTC, is that the number of Bitcoins will be slowly reducing to zero. There will be, in some time, 21KK BTC, but what about bitcoin that get lost? I mean hardware malfunctions. Wrong address transfers. Lost passwords. Forgotten wallets etc.

Do we know, how many of all Bitcoins is in circulations at this moment? I mean we can count the number that indicates how many it should be. We however do not know how many of them is inaccessible.

One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.

If this is a problem for the next generations then let them sort it out. BTW if they really want, I'm pretty sure they can hard fork BTC for replacing lost coins or adding more coins to the network. Or they can just replace the whole thing with something new in CLAM style.
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February 25, 2016, 05:08:53 PM
 #15

How do you tell the difference between a lost coin and a coin held for investment?

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February 25, 2016, 05:14:32 PM
 #16

How do you tell the difference between a lost coin and a coin held for investment?

two things are impossible in Bitcoin (in my opinion) , I mean you could try but It will be always estimated and nothing exact :

  • Having the number of users (wallets != users)
  • know how much coins are lost

BadGhost
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February 25, 2016, 05:15:32 PM
 #17

Well reworking the divisible units might solve it, but I am not entirely sure about it.


Look at this example:

Imagine that 100 satoshi actually means something. You can buy thing A for 100 satoshi. Now you would renumber so 100 satoshi would be actually 10 000 satoshi.

That would either mean that thing A that costed 100 still costs 100 satoshi and then everybody got suddenly super rich or what costed 100 satoshi now costs 10 000 satoshi and nothing has changed. And therefore the rework of divisible units failed.

And the quote from Satoshi is correct but not indefinitely. I know its not our problem, but it is a question to ask.

/edit typo
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February 25, 2016, 05:20:55 PM
 #18

One thing that probably has not been thought of, during the creation of BTC, is that the number of Bitcoins will be slowly reducing to zero. There will be, in some time, 21KK BTC, but what about bitcoin that get lost? I mean hardware malfunctions. Wrong address transfers. Lost passwords. Forgotten wallets etc.

Do we know, how many of all Bitcoins is in circulations at this moment? I mean we can count the number that indicates how many it should be. We however do not know how many of them is inaccessible.

One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.

Okay lets assume we have lost most of the bitcoins. Once a threshold reaches people will stop using them all together.. but u are forgetting this is an 'Idea' there are lot many potential coins.. just ready to take its place. And people like us are so used to with it, there will always be a virtual currency. Bitcoin is the current face.. later i can be anything..

It has just began my friend
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February 25, 2016, 05:21:09 PM
 #19

One thing that probably has not been thought of, during the creation of BTC, is that the number of Bitcoins will be slowly reducing to zero. There will be, in some time, 21KK BTC, but what about bitcoin that get lost? I mean hardware malfunctions. Wrong address transfers. Lost passwords. Forgotten wallets etc.

Do we know, how many of all Bitcoins is in circulations at this moment? I mean we can count the number that indicates how many it should be. We however do not know how many of them is inaccessible.

One day it might be a problem, but probably not the problem of our generation. Still statistically that says bitcoin cannot survive.

Bitcoin is highly divisible, so if there is demand for Bitcoin, the price will just keep growing. Even if 20,999,999 BTC were lost forever, that remaining BTC will be enough, just make it more divisible (extend amount of divisibility more than 8 decimal places). Price would be insane for 1 BTC but the system would still work.

It's very unprovable that so many coins get lost but you are right, if time is infinite and supply is limited, at some point supply will be 0 theoretically.
It will probably take 1000 years for this being a problem so this is something future generations must have to deal with.

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February 25, 2016, 05:24:04 PM
 #20

Imagine that 100 satoshi actually means something. You can buy thing A for 100 satoshi. Now you would renumber so 100 satoshi would be actually 10 000 satoshi.
That's not how divisibility works. You start using/create a unit that is smaller Satoshi. For example 100 satoshi = 100 000 laudas.


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