According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, new research from Chainalysis, a digital forensics firm that studies the bitcoin blockchain, 3.79 million bitcoins are already gone for good based on a high estimate—and 2.78 million based on a low one.
Those numbers imply 17% to 23% of existing bitcoins are lost. The Chainalysis findings are significant because it is not speculative but they rely on a detailed empirical analysis of the blockchain, where all bitcoin transactions are recorded.
The inforgraphic shows a summary of the Bitcoin lost
These figures reflect bitcoins that are truly lost, and not hacked or otherwise stolen—in these cases, of course, the bitcoin is not lost since the thief has control of them.
Video – How many Bitcoins are lost forever and what does it mean for the Bitcoin price
What does this mean for the Bitcoin Price?
In the future, more bitcoins will be lost. But the rate at which they disappear will be much lower than in the past since, now that they’re so valuable, people will be more vigilant about keeping track of them (unlike this poor fellow out who threw away a hard drive with the key to 7,500 bitcoins).
Meanwhile, there is a question of whether the Chainalysis findings mean bitcoin is more scarce than people assume—or if the market has already priced the missing coins into the currency’s current value.
The Bitcoins lost coupled with the current adoption curve in institutional investment products linked to Bitcoin does seem extremely bullish over the long term for Bitcoin and we will not at all be surprised if Bitcoin does indeed make significant new highs in the coming years.
Please leave your questions and comments below: