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Why cant we print more than 21 million bitcoin?

Why cant we print more than 21 million bitcoin?

You've probably heard that there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins, but most people don't understand why that number exists, and why more can't be printed. In this video, shot at Mueseum park, I discuss why this number exists, and why it's not going to change.

Transcription

Hey. Chris. Why can't you print more than 21 million Bitcoins? Good question. So this was actually asked by a member of our meet-up group on Thursday of last week. It was a question that I've heard before, and it seems to be a source of confusion. Technically, there's no reason why you can't print more than 21 million Bitcoins.

There is a fixed field size in the code. I believe it's a 64 bit number and the actual number of Bitcoin you can create is 20 million 999 thousand dada dada da. This is a fixed field size. It is hard to change, but it's not impossible to change, and certainly it is within the wherewithal of the developers should they choose to do so, to change that number, but it's very unlikely because the programmers aren't stupid. They know what's gonna happen next. What happens next is we then have to sell this to the miners.

The miners are the ones who always really execute the code. There's a sort of checks and balances system built into Bitcoin. It primarily involves the coders. It primarily involves the miners, and incidentally involves the relay nodes as well. When the coders write a change of Bitcoin code, it then presented it to the miners. They release the code, it's open, and miners decide whether or not to run it.

And typically, the changes are very minor, and typically it's a non-issue. The miners just run it because it makes sense to run because it's no big deal. But now what you have is in the code, you have a situation whereby you're asking the miners to, effectively, lose money by mining. You're saying to them, "Let's increase the money supply, thus diluting your share of the money supply." So you're going to these people who have invested loads of money, large operations, their livelihoods in many cases. To Bitcoin you're saying, "Hey guys, how about you start working for free?" Or if not for free, certainly much less money, and by the way let's diminish the size of your bank accounts.

And so that's really a non-starter pitch. You're never going to sell them on that. That's the real reason that you can't change the number of Bitcoins. It's because the people who are the checks and balances there have an incentive to keep it at a fixed supply of 21 million. They're mining it for profit-seeking incentives, and you're diminishing that profit by a lot when you ask them to change it. And, incidentally, too, I think there is a sort of a contract that we've made with the users of Bitcoin, and if we were to change the number from 21 million to some other number we would have lied to our users to such a significant degree that people would lose their faith in Bitcoin and nobody would want it.

So even if in some small unimaginable world where you would get the miners to use this, the miners would also know that you're going to lose all of the consumers. You're going to lose the whole environment. No one's going to use Bitcoin because it was a lie. So I think that that's the issue. I'm pretty sure that's the entirety of why we wouldn't change the number of Bitcoins online. I don't know.

Maybe you disagree. Do you have something to add to this Do you have a comment? Do you have another question to ask? Go ahead and ask me. I'm DeRoseTech on Twitter or Chris@ChrisDeRose.com by email. If you like this video, subscribe to my channel. Later, party people.