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The currencies we lost in those years: Research shows that 3.79 million bitcoins have been missing

Gold bullion may fall deep into the sea, and bills worth $ 100 can be destroyed. Like them, bitcoin can disappear completely online. By 2140, that is, 21 million bitcoin has been fully excavated, the actual amount may be traded or cost may be lower.

Chainalysis, a digital forensic company that specializes in the Bitcoin blockchain, said in a new report that it is expected that up to a 379万个比特币total of 2.78 million bitcoins will have been completely lost. These numbers account for 23% (or 17%) of the existing bitcoin. And now the price of a single bitcoin has reached 9760 US dollars (as of press time).

While others have been speculating on the amount of lost bitcoins, Chainalysis's findings are important because they provide a detailed empirical analysis of the blockchain where all bitcoin transactions are recorded.

The chart above shows that Chainalysis categorizes the existing Bitcoin supply based on each stage and transaction history and concludes. In addition, the company used statistical sampling to determine the number of lost coins in some stages.

The "mined coins" category represents the bitcoin that has been excavated in 2017 (presumably the loss rate is 0); and the "selling / buying" category refers to those that were moved or spent last year The amount of money lost is small; the column "strategic investments" says investors who hold Bitcoin for 1 to 2 years and who have a low rate of losing coins.

The following table is another manifestation of the data. Bitcoin out of circulation (long-term investors digging out two to seven years ago or belonging to long-term investors like hodlers) and bitcoin output in 2009 and 2010 are more likely to lose a lot Case:

These figures show that bitcoin that has been attacked or stolen does not fall into the category of losing coins because the attacker actually controls that part of the bitcoin.

It should be noted that the above figures are based on high estimates, while low estimates, hodlers nearly 30% of the number of lost coins, which is 2,767,468 bitcoin. In addition, both estimates made a key assumption that the currency belonging to Bitcoin founder Nakamoto has been completely lost.

There will be more bitcoin lost in the future. However, compared with the past, the coin rate will be lower and lower. Because bitcoin is getting more and more valuable, people are more careful when it comes to depositing money (do not throw away 1,400 bitcoin like the poor buddy ). Meanwhile, along with Chainalysis's findings came another question: is bitcoin scarcer than people think - or does the market include bits of bitcoin that have been lost when pricing Bitcoin? value.

Kim Grauer, chief economist at Chainalysis, said:

This is a very complicated issue. On the one hand, the direct calculation of market value will not count lost currency. Given the highly speculative nature of the industry, the calculation of market capitalization may become a market economy model that can affect consumer activity. However, the market has adapted to the actual demand and available supply - this can be seen intuitively in the trading performance. In addition, in order to affect the transaction rate, a well-known monetary policy is to reduce or increase the legal currency reserve. Therefore, the answer can be positive or negative.

Lost bitcoin and Nakamoto's secret

Chainalysis's clients include the IRS and Europol. Chainalysis is well-known in Bitcoin because of its rich data resources and detailed study of blockchain wallets. Law enforcement agencies can use the data provided by the company to understand the identity of the holder and the transfer of bitcoin.

Chainalysis uses a research approach that is confidential. However, a spokesman revealed some of the details they estimated the amount of coins lost. One of the important clues is that as long as the blockchain divergence occurs - for example, Bitcoin Cash this summer, it will lead to the trading of some years of inactive wallet, giving them the opportunity to analyze the data.

This clue helped Chainalysis sort out the information about "hodler", the ones who held their currency before the bitcoin fever. The group is also a source of uncertainty because it's hard to know whether the bitcoin they hold is lost or just kept alive.

Chainalysis is the result of a statistical network report on lost coins, as for the transactional Bitcoin 2% coinage rate. Such lost coin may be caused by mistakes in the trading operation or by the loss of the private key caused by the death or carelessness of the holder. This part of the data is not based on a rigorous statistical extrapolation derived, the company said the future may be appropriate changes.

Finally, the problem went to Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto, anonymous creator of Bitcoin, disappeared after 2011. Chainalysis said that there are about 1 million Bitcoin in Nakamoto's purse, and the company's research model thinks that this part of the coin (at that time only 50 laptops can be easily dug) has been completely lost. This is a bold guess. If this conclusion is wrong, the amount of bitcoin circulating in the market will greatly increase, which may impact the market.