Chainalysis study: almost 4 million Bitcoins have been lost forever

18 May, 2019
by Richard Allen
Bitcoin
Chainalysis study: almost 4 million Bitcoins have been lost forever

According to new research from blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis, 3.79 million Bitcoin have been lost forever, representing a high estimate, and 2.78 million on a low estimate. These figures suggest 17% to 23% of all existing Bitcoin have been lost, Fortune reports.

While others have speculated on the number of Bitcoins lost, Chainalysis’s findings rely on empirical analysis of the blockchain, meaning their results should be far more accurate.

As can be seen in the graphic above, Chainalysis’s results are based on segmenting the existing Bitcoin supply based on age and transaction activity.

The data shown in the format below reveals those Bitcoins that are now out of circulation – mined two to seven years ago, these coins now belong to longtime investors or hodlers. Others, from 2009 and 2010 represent the vast majority of the last coins.

It’s important to note that these figures reflect the Bitcoin that has been truly lost, and not hacked or stolen.

Additionally, the numbers are based on the higher estimate. The low estimate, which is based on a loss of only 30% of hodler coins, brings the total number of lost Bitcoin down to 2,767,468. Both estimates assume all the coins belonging to Satoshi Nakamoto have been lost forever.

Chainalysis’s findings raise the question of whether Bitcoin is actually more scarce than people assume, or if the market has already taken the missing Bitcoin into its current price.

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