Cryptocurrency analyst Timothy Peterson claims that 1,500 bitcoins are lost daily, meaning only 14 million BTCs will ever move. The figure contradicts the estimates of many organizations, including Markets.bitcoin.com, which invest the figure in 18.5 million coins.
Still, Peterson, who is the director of the CIA’s Cane Island Alternative Advisors, claims his merits by showing how this average daily loss dwarfs the daily 900 bitcoin mining.
In addition, in support of his claim, Peterson refers to a research report published earlier this year by his organization. In the context of the five documents requested, the term "irrevocably lost" is added to the Bitcoin glossary.
To explain the term, research data says that irreversibly lost bitcoins represent funds or "money (it) is lost, it is no longer part of any kind of economy". The document adds that such bitcoins "cannot be traded and the recovery costs exceed the value obtained from a successful application".
According to Bitcoin.com support, "all Bitcoin transactions are irrevocable, so an event that has already been submitted cannot be undone." Indeed, there are numerous cases where private keys have been lost or lost and lost access to their funds permanently. Earlier this week, News.Bitcoin.com published a story about how hackers have been trying for years to crack a Bitcoin wallet believed to contain 69,370 inaccessible coins.
At the same time, the Cane Island Group of Alternative Advisers claims their case, arguing that based on their own methods used in the previous study, they were able to assess that:
"Since 2010, approximately 4% of bitcoin’s available supply has been lost annually. This puts the currently available supply at around 13.9 million coins, well below the announced total supply of 18.3 million. This means that about 28% of all bitcoins are irreversibly lost."
The Cane Island Alternative Advisors group refers to previous studies on the same topic in support of the claims, first Ratliff in 2014 and Chainalysis in 2017. The Cane Island Alternative Advisors was released on April 16, 2020.
Meanwhile, some bitcoiners sued Peterson on September 14 after his tweet about the reduced supply of bitcoin. Others, such as the Bitcoin Rabbi, felt that 1500 bitcoin getting lost every day is very high.
In his response, however, Peterson says:
"(If) a chain analysis report, if you do the math, says 1900 a day / December 2017. My own numbers are more conservative."
However, there are no links to this chain analysis report in this research report. Another Twitter user questions the findings, claiming they "mean all 21 million bitcoins will be lost within 30 years."
Some argue that Peterson’s claims are an exaggeration, but it has been agreed that the actual amount of circulating supply may be less than the often reported 18.5 million.