According to research conducted by cryptocurrency-focused digital forensics company Chainalysis, at least 2.78 million bitcoins are forever lost on the Bitcoin blockchain network. This number could even be as high as 3.79 million bitcoins.
Calculating Non-Circulating Coins
At today’s market price, 2.78 million bitcoins are equivalent to roughly $26.4 billion, given that the price of bitcoin has increased nearly 37 percent, from $6,000 to $9,500 in the past month.
Using empirical data provided by the transparent Bitcoin network, the Chainalysis research team calculated the number of bitcoins that are “out of circulation.”
It should be noted that lost bitcoins do not account for stolen funds on cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms. Technically hackers that successfully steal cryptocurrencies from centralized platforms have access to the stolen resources and thus can recirculate their bounty.
In an interview with Fortune, Kim Grauer, a senior economist at Chainalysis, stated that the amount of lost bitcoins is often dismissed in evaluating the market cap of bitcoin. As of current, the market valuation of bitcoin amounts to $163 billion. But, Grauer emphasized that the current market cap of bitcoin does not consider the bitcoins that are no longer accessible on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Hence, the supply of actual bitcoins that are circulating within the market is lower, even though the demand for the cryptocurrency is increasing at an exponential rate…