There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin. We’re not too far off—around 18 and a half million Bitcoin are already in circulation. But on the 15th of August, 2010, that limit was destroyed by one person who managed to exploit a flaw to produce 184 billion Bitcoin.
Let’s set the scene: back in 2010, Bitcoin peaked at around $0.3—so low, in fact, that in May that year someone spent 10,000 Bitcoin buying a single pizza, now worth over $110 million.
Clearly, Bitcoin wasn’t the cryptocurrency juggernaut it is today; like many new technologies, it experienced growing pains, one of which was a bug that generated billions of Bitcoin in a couple of transactions.
The value overflow incident
In August 2010, Bitcoin’s source code was exploited by someone who to this day remains anonymous. Enter block 74,638, the fateful block that created 184,467,440,737.09551616 Bitcoin, with two addresses receiving just over 92 billion Bitcoin each—92,233,720,368, to be specific.