Bitcoin Forum
December 08, 2016, 07:55:39 AM *
News: Latest stable version of Bitcoin Core: 0.13.1  [Torrent].
 
   Home   Help Search Donate Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 »  All
  Print  
Author Topic: Bitcoin depletion?  (Read 8182 times)
denger
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 14


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 12:32:37 AM
 #1

I understand that the number of bitcoins is inherently limited. What happens if someone gets (one way or another) some number of bitcoins and then either loses his wallet to (hard drive crash, hurricane, accidental wipe, death of the owner, whatever). Are these bitcoins lost forever and taken out of circulation? So, finite number of bitcoins going to be infinitely depleted?

I gather that the value of bitcoin will rise as a result. They are also divisible, so we should have bigger supply of smaller parts as a result. But are they infinitely divisible?
1481183739
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1481183739

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1481183739
Reply with quote  #2

1481183739
Report to moderator
1481183739
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1481183739

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1481183739
Reply with quote  #2

1481183739
Report to moderator
Advertised sites are not endorsed by the Bitcoin Forum. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. Advertise here.
1481183739
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1481183739

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1481183739
Reply with quote  #2

1481183739
Report to moderator
ksd5
Jr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 48


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 12:51:17 AM
 #2

You're 99% correct. However, Bitcoins are not infinitely divisible.

Bitcoins can be divided to 8 decimal places. Internally, the software processes Bitcoins this way, but at this time the client interface only supports transactions up to 2 decimal places.
SmokeTooMuch
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 873


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 12:52:12 AM
 #3

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=13.0 Question number 6
http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44.0
http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=198.0
http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=245.0

Why is nobody using the board search ?

Date Registered: 2009-12-10 | I'm using GPG, pm me for my public key. | Bitcoin on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/btc
You like what I'm doing? Why don't you send me a coin: 17Pj8jpUgY6qTaKgiopL5U48zxU4rTrkuB
knightmb
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 308


Timekoin - Save Electricity, Don't Waste It!


View Profile WWW
July 15, 2010, 12:52:19 AM
 #4

I understand that the number of bitcoins is inherently limited. What happens if someone gets (one way or another) some number of bitcoins and then either loses his wallet to (hard drive crash, hurricane, accidental wipe, death of the owner, whatever). Are these bitcoins lost forever and taken out of circulation? So, finite number of bitcoins going to be infinitely depleted?

I gather that the value of bitcoin will rise as a result. They are also divisible, so we should have bigger supply of smaller parts as a result. But are they infinitely divisible?
No, not infinitely divisible but to destroy every single BitCoin would be like trying to count every atom in this planet, the number is so high that you would have to destroy every BitCoin simultaneously because a single Bit Coin can still be divided another 1 million times if need be.

RHorning
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Activity: 210


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 01:13:16 AM
 #5

No, not infinitely divisible but to destroy every single BitCoin would be like trying to count every atom in this planet, the number is so high that you would have to destroy every BitCoin simultaneously because a single Bit Coin can still be divided another 1 million times if need be.

That still is a pretty hard limit.  I would even go so far as to say "famous last words" as the folks who came up with IPv4 had to deal with the exhaustion of the address space (about 4 billion IP addresses).  Unfortunately the current demand world-wide is about 15-20 billion at the moment, and no end in sight about how many more may eventually be needed, hence IPv6.

Back elsewhen nobody thought that there could ever be any exhaustion of the IPv4 address space as the total number of computers that could ever conceivably be put onto a computer network was in the 100k range.  Gordon Moore famously made a joke about how microprocessors would become common to the point where a typical high-end hotel would have at least one microprocessor for every doorknob in the hotel.  He didn't expect to see that actually happen about 15 years later when quite literally every doorknob in the hotel he gave that address in put in microprocessors... for security purposes.

I really don't know how far and wide that bitcoins will go, but limiting them to just 1 million or even a trillion may seem in the long run as something of a major shortcoming.  We'll see on this issue if enough "space" has been set aside to deal with all eventualities that could happen to bitcoins.

Then again, that would be a wonderful problem to have to address, at which time there would be a major international conference involving major heads of state or at least ministerial level representatives (something like the Secretary of State from the USA) who would be debating about the future of Bitcoins and how to "resolve" that problem if it was a serious issue.  I think a "reasonable" technical solution could also be found if that was a problem and is certainly not something to worry about at the moment.  Certainly anything needed for the next couple of decades, if bitcoins even survive that long, can be accommodated with the current system.

1FLK3uUT3Vup5JtkGJVXKHAoS3AZWPcKdv
dmp1ce
Member
**
Offline Offline

Activity: 69


View Profile WWW
July 15, 2010, 01:21:42 AM
 #6

Why is nobody using the board search ?
Probably many people do, but you wouldn't know because they don't post questions.  Wink

BTCmon - Support great bitcoin apps
ksd5
Jr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 48


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 01:33:59 AM
 #7

Well, each new Bitcoin user and each lost Bitcoin just adds value to the currency. When coin generation is complete, the currency can only deflate from there.

If EVERY Bitcoin is somehow deleted, we can just restart the whole block generation process.

I really wouldn't want any government messing with Bitcoins.
theymos
Administrator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 2492


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:03:21 AM
 #8

If it really becomes an issue (which I really doubt), the client can be updated to support more precision. Everyone would need to update, but it should be possible to switch to the new system smoothly and gradually.

1NXYoJ5xU91Jp83XfVMHwwTUyZFK64BoAD
denger
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 14


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:08:09 AM
 #9

No, not infinitely divisible but to destroy every single BitCoin would be like trying to count every atom in this planet, the number is so high that you would have to destroy every BitCoin simultaneously because a single Bit Coin can still be divided another 1 million times if need be.

Not quite sure I follow you. A lot of bitcoins can be destroyed in one accident: it takes one wealthy individual losing his stash one way or another. I bet these will come again and again, fairly predictably. All I am saying is that we could end up with too few bitcoins for them to be useful eventually. I am not convinced this "eventually" is as far away in the future as some might think.

As far as board searches go, I do use them. But there is also a place for a healthy discussion, and people who are not interested in a particular one can easily skip it  Wink
jib
Member
**
Offline Offline

Activity: 84


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:15:44 AM
 #10

Perhaps we can assume that the rate at which Bitcoins are accidentally deleted is sort of proportional to the number in existence. So we start with 21,000,000 and it halves every x years, until after about 50x years there's .00000001 Bitcoin left.

The question is whether x is so large that we don't have to care about it. But x is certainly finite and not astronomically large; it's not like trying to count the atoms in the universe or anything.

Looking forward to quantum computing so we can have qubitcoins.
denger
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 14


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:23:17 AM
 #11

Perhaps we can assume that the rate at which Bitcoins are accidentally deleted is sort of proportional to the number in existence. So we start with 21,000,000 and it halves every x years, until after about 50x years there's .00000001 Bitcoin left.

The question is whether x is so large that we don't have to care about it. But x is certainly finite and not astronomically large; it's not like trying to count the atoms in the universe or anything.

Precisely what I was thinking. Anyone has data on the real money depletion rates? This might give us an idea of a best-case scenario. I say best case because after 20+ years of being in IT I know for sure that bitrot is orders of magnitude faster then any chemical or biological process if it could be compared.

BTW, we really NEED that wallet backup capability talked about in the tech section of the forum.
knightmb
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 308


Timekoin - Save Electricity, Don't Waste It!


View Profile WWW
July 15, 2010, 02:28:27 AM
 #12

Perhaps we can assume that the rate at which Bitcoins are accidentally deleted is sort of proportional to the number in existence. So we start with 21,000,000 and it halves every x years, until after about 50x years there's .00000001 Bitcoin left.

The question is whether x is so large that we don't have to care about it. But x is certainly finite and not astronomically large; it's not like trying to count the atoms in the universe or anything.
The 2 decimal point limit is just the client. It's 21,000,000.00000000 that the system can support.

So 0.00000001 is a unit just like 21000000 is.  So if you remove the decimal point, you have 2,100,000,000,000,000 units possible in the entire system or 2.1 quadrillion units possible. So if you think about it without the decimal point, the number is actually much larger than it seems. This is the actual size the system supports. It only goes to 2 decimal points in the client currently. Ask yourself, are there 2.1 quadrillion dollars in circulation in the USA or even all the countries of the world currency combined?

Bitcoiner
Member
**
Offline Offline

Activity: 70


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:28:48 AM
 #13

No, not infinitely divisible but to destroy every single BitCoin would be like trying to count every atom in this planet, the number is so high that you would have to destroy every BitCoin simultaneously because a single Bit Coin can still be divided another 1 million times if need be.

That still is a pretty hard limit.  I would even go so far as to say "famous last words" as the folks who came up with IPv4 had to deal with the exhaustion of the address space (about 4 billion IP addresses).  Unfortunately the current demand world-wide is about 15-20 billion at the moment, and no end in sight about how many more may eventually be needed, hence IPv6.

...

Then again, that would be a wonderful problem to have to address, at which time there would be a major international conference involving major heads of state or at least ministerial level representatives (something like the Secretary of State from the USA) who would be debating about the future of Bitcoins and how to "resolve" that problem if it was a serious issue.  I think a "reasonable" technical solution could also be found if that was a problem and is certainly not something to worry about at the moment.  Certainly anything needed for the next couple of decades, if bitcoins even survive that long, can be accommodated with the current system.

You do make a decent point about the IPv4 exhaustion limit. I believe Bitcoins have a total divisible count of  2.1 quadrillion (someone correct me if I'm wrong), so it's quite a bit finer than IPv4, but yes, there is still conceivably a precision limit. I suppose the precision could be increased at that point.

I hope the second paragraph was a joke though. Major heads of state discussing the future of Bitcoin? The whole point is that it doesn't fall under state control. Those guys still print the Internet and would probably see Bitcoin as a tool of terrorism. The US DoJ has digital currencies listed as a "major threat". Wink

Want to thank me for this post? Donate here! Flip your coins over to: 13Cq8AmdrqewatRxEyU2xNuMvegbaLCvEe  Smiley
RHorning
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Activity: 210


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 02:48:47 AM
 #14

I hope the second paragraph was a joke though. Major heads of state discussing the future of Bitcoin? The whole point is that it doesn't fall under state control. Those guys still print the Internet and would probably see Bitcoin as a tool of terrorism. The US DoJ has digital currencies listed as a "major threat". Wink

If bitcoins are being used for transactions involving the equivalent of millions or even billions of dollars world wide, I certainly think that it would involve some very high level discussions and certainly be a topic of discussion at something like a G20 summit.  Perhaps how to kill the concept or something nefarious, but it would at least be brought up.

The same thing could be said about ARPANET, where the initial standards were established with what was a bunch of grad students on their "free time".  How else do you think the IP over avian carrier protocol (RFC 1149) ever got through as an official RFC standard?

The internet in general has resisted strong government interference, even from strong autocratic governments like the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  I would imagine that Bitcoins could offer a similar resistance from strong government take over if it is robustly designed.

1FLK3uUT3Vup5JtkGJVXKHAoS3AZWPcKdv
Bitcoiner
Member
**
Offline Offline

Activity: 70


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 03:21:34 AM
 #15

I hope the second paragraph was a joke though. Major heads of state discussing the future of Bitcoin? The whole point is that it doesn't fall under state control. Those guys still print the Internet and would probably see Bitcoin as a tool of terrorism. The US DoJ has digital currencies listed as a "major threat". Wink

If bitcoins are being used for transactions involving the equivalent of millions or even billions of dollars world wide, I certainly think that it would involve some very high level discussions and certainly be a topic of discussion at something like a G20 summit.  Perhaps how to kill the concept or something nefarious, but it would at least be brought up.

The same thing could be said about ARPANET, where the initial standards were established with what was a bunch of grad students on their "free time".  How else do you think the IP over avian carrier protocol (RFC 1149) ever got through as an official RFC standard?

The internet in general has resisted strong government interference, even from strong autocratic governments like the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  I would imagine that Bitcoins could offer a similar resistance from strong government take over if it is robustly designed.

Agreed; one reason the Internet has been so successful is precisely because it offers resistance against strong centralized control. Anyone can read the views of anyone else and have access to such a wide range information, anywhere in the world.

They will try, I don't doubt it, but I hope people see the value in a decentralized currency remaining free of centralized control, especially control by people who probably won't even understand the point and will only believe in whatever propaganda they are told.

Want to thank me for this post? Donate here! Flip your coins over to: 13Cq8AmdrqewatRxEyU2xNuMvegbaLCvEe  Smiley
denger
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 14


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 03:39:20 AM
 #16

Ask yourself, are there 2.1 quadrillion dollars in circulation in the USA or even all the countries of the world currency combined?

Not Dollars, cents actually, since we are talking about indivisible lowest amount.
There are $829 billion dollars in public circulation (Government does not have to print the bill to say it has it, so if you count the non-circulation money its an order of magnitude more). This makes it 83 trillion cents, or roughly 25 times less then indivisible bitcoin fractions. Very much a comparable number. If you count non-circulating dollars you get roughly the same number give or take factor of 2.

Since I am on a 3rd grade math spree here, another interesting tidbit is that as of today's 11:30pm EST all bitcoins out there (in circulation) are worth US$70,932 according to today's paypal rate at the bitcoinmarket.com provided these bitcoins all are still intact (and we know for sure thats not so, see other posts from today). Anyone surprised at this number?
jib
Member
**
Offline Offline

Activity: 84


View Profile
July 15, 2010, 05:04:14 AM
 #17

The same thing could be said about ARPANET, where the initial standards were established with what was a bunch of grad students on their "free time".  How else do you think the IP over avian carrier protocol (RFC 1149) ever got through as an official RFC standard?

Not every RFC is a standard, "official" or otherwise. Many aren't even proposed or intended to be standards. And RFC1149 was published in 1990. It wasn't one of the "initial standards", it came a long time after ARPANET and a long time after the internet was run by a "bunch of grad students". There's been a joke RFC published every (or almost every; I haven't checked) year since then.

Looking forward to quantum computing so we can have qubitcoins.
RHorning
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Activity: 210


View Profile
July 17, 2010, 07:53:29 AM
 #18

The same thing could be said about ARPANET, where the initial standards were established with what was a bunch of grad students on their "free time".  How else do you think the IP over avian carrier protocol (RFC 1149) ever got through as an official RFC standard?

Not every RFC is a standard, "official" or otherwise. Many aren't even proposed or intended to be standards. And RFC1149 was published in 1990. It wasn't one of the "initial standards", it came a long time after ARPANET and a long time after the internet was run by a "bunch of grad students". There's been a joke RFC published every (or almost every; I haven't checked) year since then.

While RFC1149 started out as a joke, it has become semi-serious as a basis for very long-range extensions of the internet to places like Mars and other planets in the Solar System.  When IP packets take on the order of hours for transmittal between nodes on the network, you have to implement some slightly different strategies for dealing with the packets.  This particular RFC has had a few actual implementations too including with the original topic of the paper, carrier pigeons.  Sometimes you have to simply look at a problem from a different perspective from time to time.

Hmm..... that gets me thinking for a bit.... how would you "transport" Bitcoins to Mars or other places in the Solar System?  That would have to be something for another thread but something interesting to speculate on.

Ask yourself, are there 2.1 quadrillion dollars in circulation in the USA or even all the countries of the world currency combined?

I'd have to get back to the find gritty details here, but it seems as though with the Credit Default Swaps that caused the current fiscal mess that the world is in right now represented at one time something on the order of about 5 quadrillion dollars worth of debt that had to be unraveled.  With that much money outstanding in the form of debts of debts of debts and watching that kind of Ponzi scheme collapse, I'm surprised that more wasn't taken out when it collapsed.  Any wonder that whole countries (Greece, as an example) are being wiped out economically?  I just hope that California hangs in there before some sanity takes over again.  The trillion dollars spent by the U.S. Congress at the end of the Bush administration was just to make sure that there would still be a financial center in New York at the end of this year and to keep the whole thing from collapsing too quickly.

If the entire world banking system was relying upon bitcoins, I think it would be reasonable to presume that for liquidity purposes a larger number would have to be selected.  Some of these extreme banking practices perhaps wouldn't have to be practiced and maybe there wouldn't have to be huge amounts of cash being moved around the world.

1FLK3uUT3Vup5JtkGJVXKHAoS3AZWPcKdv
eugene2k
Jr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 37


View Profile
July 18, 2010, 01:25:30 AM
 #19

I'm pretty sure that if needed, the bitcoin protocol and application could be changed to support arbitrary precision arithmetic. Which makes depletion impossible as long as there are parties interested in using bitcoin.
Inedible
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Activity: 630


What doesn't kill you only makes you sicker!


View Profile
July 19, 2010, 05:01:20 PM
 #20

If there were 8 billion people on the planet and each of them were given an equal share of the 21M BitCoins, each person would have 262500 indivisible BitCoin units.

Doesn't sound a lot especially as Nenolod will have over 85,000 X 100000000 of those indivisible units from the outset.

If this post was useful, interesting or entertaining, then you've misunderstood. 1N6rmaDiPf8ke3mx8217NykAMDZXkX713x
Pages: [1] 2 »  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Sponsored by , a Bitcoin-accepting VPN.
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!