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Hello, this is James D'Angelo and welcome to the bitcoin minute.
For those who follow the motto of Groucho Marx and refuse to join clubs that want you as a member, a new form of ultra-exclusivity might suit you just fine.
Just like the back alley club with a confusing address, Bitcoin is a currency for insiders — with a fixed hard limit of 21 million coins.
And just as bitcoin is exploding with popularity, it is also in the tail end of production. Over half of all future coins have already been put into circulation.
Suddenly that 21 million limit on coins seems awfully small, especially, given that bitcoin is an international currency. Providing bitcoins for all 7 billion people on earth is simply impossible.
Instead, we are looking at an average of around 1 bitcoin for every 333 people! Exclusive indeed. Yet, even this number is worse than one might think, because huge quantities of the online currency have already been snapped up by small groups and individuals.
For example, just a few months ago, the Facebook twins disclosed holdings of 108,000 bitcoins. Enough for them to consider starting a fund on wall street.
Worse, it has been rumored that an early investor, possibly even the founder himself, has stockpiled more than 1 million bitcoins. This total is currently worth well over a hundred million dollars, but worse, it is also one twentieth of the world's supply.
Given all this, it seems likely that when the chips fall, a majority of the bitcoins will end up in very few hands indeed.