When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, he (or she, or they) included a little-known feature in the code: the ability to destroy Bitcoin. This so-called “time bomb” was designed to create an incentive for people to move from Bitcoin to a new version of the software, called Bitcoin Cash, which Nakamoto also created.
The time bomb works like this: every 210,000 blocks, or roughly every four years, the number of bitcoins awarded to miners for each new block they create is cut in half. This reduction in the rate of new supply is known as “halving.” The first halving occurred in 2012, when the block reward went from 50 BTC to 25 BTC. The second halving happened in 2016, and dropped the block reward to 12.
5 BTC. The third halving is scheduled for 2020.
As the block reward diminishes, so does the incentive for miners to continue running the network. At some point, it’s no longer profitable for miners to keep their machines running, and they will shut them down.
Once that happens, no new bitcoins will be created, and the only bitcoins in circulation will be those that have already been mined.
This could lead to a shortage of bitcoins, driving up their price and making them even more valuable than they are today. But it could also lead to the collapse of the Bitcoin network entirely, as people lose interest and move on to other cryptocurrencies.
The question of whether Satoshi Nakamoto can destroy Bitcoin is a difficult one to answer. It depends on how you define “destroy.” If by “destroy” you mean “cause the price of Bitcoin to crash,” then yes, Satoshi Nakamoto can destroy Bitcoin. But if by “destroy” you mean “cause the Bitcoin network to fail,” then it’s less clear.
It is possible that Nakamoto’s time bomb could lead to the demise of Bitcoin, but it’s also possible that miners will find a way to keep the network running even as the block reward diminishes. Only time will tell what will happen.