Bitcoin’s Distributed Ledger Nears a Half Terabyte

  • BTC Price at the time of writing – $19,141.87
  • Close to 14 years ago the blockchain was less than a kilobyte 
  • BTC chain is approximately 432,176,009 kB in size

On January 3, 2009, well over a decade ago, the Bitcoin blockchain had a size of 0.285 kilobytes (kB), or roughly 285 bytes. However, the blockchain’s ledger currently occupies just over 432 gigabytes or nearly half a terabyte.

The Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain is getting closer to reaching 500 gigabytes, or roughly half a terabyte, on October 15, 2022. This is necessary in order to store the entire history of the distributed ledger on a drive.

At the time of writing, it takes more than 432 gigabytes (GB) of space to store the entire BTC blockchain. On January 3, 2009, nearly 14 years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto launched the blockchain with a size of less than a kilobyte, or approximately 285 bytes.

Bitcoin’s Blockchain Nears 500 Gigabytes in Size

The distributed ledger of Bitcoin did not reach 1 MB in size until February 16, 2009, and by February 13, 2012, the blockchain was approximately 1,000,000 kB or 1 GB in size.

The BTC chain was approximately 432,176,009 kB in size on Saturday, when it was 432 GB today. To store the entire blockchain network, miners and full nodes require more than 432 GB of storage space to manage the chain.

According to current metrics, there are 14,299 reachable full nodes at the time of writing. This indicates that thousands of nodes host a complete copy of the blockchain network. Light clients are wallets that don’t run a full node and use a simplified payment verification (SPV) scheme.

SPV clients sync with nearby bitcoin full nodes that are validating rather than hosting a full node. Full nodes are used by full node operators, miners, and institutions like exchanges, payment companies, and custodians, whereas SPV wallets make up the majority of the crypto community’s wallets today.

The storage of BTC and other distributed ledgers necessitates a significant amount of disk space. 

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network has 186 gigabytes, the Bitcoinsv (BSV) network has more than 7 terabytes (TB), and the Dash (DASH) network has about 27 gigabytes. Ethereum (ETH) is just five gigabytes away from 0.5 TB at 495 GB.

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How many Bitcoins are out there?

The software of Bitcoin restricts the total supply, which will never exceed 21,000,000 coins. Mining is the process by which new coins are made: Miners pick up transactions as they are relayed across the network, and package them into blocks, which are protected by intricate cryptographic calculations.

For each block that is successfully added to the blockchain, the miners receive rewards as payment for using their computational resources.

The reward for each block at the time of Bitcoin’s launch was fifty bitcoins: Every 210,000 new blocks mined, which takes the network approximately four years, this number is reduced by half.

The block reward has been reduced by half three times by 2020 to 6.25 bitcoins.

Bitcoin has not been premiered, which means that no coins have been mined or distributed among its founders prior to its public release. 

However, the early network participants were able to regularly mine for a significant amount of coins because there was little competition among miners during the early years of BTC’s existence: It is believed that Satoshi Nakamoto alone owns more than one million Bitcoin.

Nancy J. Allen
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