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This is How the USD 10M per BTC ‘Thought Experiment’ Would Look Now

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 2 min read

Ten years ago, Harold Thomas Finney, cryptographer and crypto pioneer who worked closely with Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto (or some say he’s Satoshi himself), did a thought experiment and found out that one bitcoin (BTC) would be worth a whopping USD 10 million, should this cryptocurrency becomes the dominant payment system. Now, thanks to the fact that the global wealth has increased and millions of bitcoins have been lost, the price would be different.

Source: iStock/pixel_dreams

On January 12th, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto sent 10 BTC to Finney, thus making another major step in crypto history. These days, a tweet has been traveling around the Cryptoverse of an archived email in which Finney (who passed away in 2014) congratulates Nakamoto on the first release of the system and says he’s looking forward to trying it out, dated January 10th, 2009.

In the message, Finney also writes that, “as an amusing thought experiment, imagine that Bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world.” He then states that the total value of of the Bitcoin network should be equal to the total value of all the wealth in the world. “Current estimates of total worldwide household wealth that I have found range from [USD] 100 trillion to [USD] 300 trillion. With 20 million coins, that gives each coin a value of about [USD] 10 million”, the currency supporter concluded. (In total, roughly 21 million of bitcoins should be mined, while it’s anyone’s guess why Finney used 20 million in his calculations. Possibly, it was just rounding-up for easier math.)

Has the numbers changed in the last decade?

According to the latest report by investment bank Credit Suisse, aggregate global wealth stood at USD 317 trillion in mid-2018. Meanwhile, according to various analysis, anywhere between 2.8 million and 3.8 million BTC have been lost, though it’s difficult to know for sure.

Taking the highest number of the lost coins into our calculation (and hoping that the 1 million allegedly held by Satoshi have not been lost also), leaves us with roughly BTC 14.1 million available now (it would be BTC 17.2 million in case all bitcoins would mined now). Dividing the USD 317 trillion of total estimated worldwide wealth with the number of coins at this moment, would give each coin a value of about USD 22.5 million.

Sadly, this is only a thought experiment as Bitcoin is yet to become the dominant payment system and still trades above USD 10,000 now (which is 170% more than in the beginning of 2019). However, during a rally in June, Bitcoin bulls started to push a new narrative, targeting USD 100,000 per bitcoin in the coming years.

Meanwhile, some in the Cryptosphere are discussing how much one Finney is:

And, despite a number of people claiming to be the BTC creator, many in the Cryptosphere believe that Finney was in fact Satoshi.

Meanwhile, Finney may have a chance to see if he was right or not. According to multiple reports, right after his death, Finney’s body was transported to a cryonics firm where he remains frozen until the technologies have been developed “to repair the problems he had such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the aging process”.