The great Ethereum supply debate is on—and it’s turning fierce. If you don’t follow; the network’s infinite supply has been a point of many discussions since its inception in 2015.
That means unlike Bitcoin (and thousands of other cryptos), there’s no “cap” to how many Ethers can exist in the open market — with the idea being supply increases every year as long as Ethereum exists.
The total supply of Ether was around 110.5 million as of 16 April 2020. In 2017, mining generated 9.2 million new ETH, corresponding to a 10% increase in its total supply. There is no currently implemented hard cap on the total supply of ETH.
So far, there was no major issue with how Ethereum operated. Yes, the critics were ever-present and ICO fanatics made millions, but no one really cared about what the Ethereum supply was like (as long as bags were pumped).
But since this month — on the back of a rise in DeFi projects — the criticism has risen, and it’s not the run-of-the-mill crypto scammers raising questions. Instead, prominent members of the Bitcoin community are leading the charge seeking the one true answer; how many ETH anyway?
Bitcoin community asks
It started when Micheal Goldstein commended on Arcane Research CIO Eric Wall’s Twitter thread; “Can they articulate how to easily and independently verify the monetary supply of ETH?”
When asked about the 21 million supply cap of Bitcoin, Goldstein said the asset can be verified by anyone using a Bitcoin-cli and a full node.
Andrew, a thread commenter who seemed to explain how Ethereum’s uncapped supply was similar to Bitcoin’s, said that the former can be appropriated using a model of issuance rules with the current issuance. However, Monero lead developer, and code maintainer, Riccardo Spagni was quick to state that any interested party can “independently” verify the Bitcoin supply — with the same relatively difficult to do for Ethereum, he stated.
Ethereum co-founder explains
After the thread above started to spark further interest into how many ETH really are in circulation, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin jumped in on his Twitter account to explain his view. He tweeted:
He later mentioned how to check the Ethereum supply, using this link. In further comments, Buterin noted there were 112 million ETH in circulation.
But some, like developer and Bitcoin educator Pierre Rochard, were unconvinced:
Meanwhile, “Leon” ran the script and came up with several different supply figures when he (claimed on Twitter) to have ran the script:
And of course, it couldn’t have been a crypto argument without someone dropping a meme:
The debate rages on.
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