Crypto Glossary

Posted on September 13, 2021 in

Total Supply

The total supply refers to the entire quantity of cryptocurrency that has previously been produced, mined, or issued as of the time of writing. The total supply comprises coins that have been pre-mined, coins that have been locked, and coins that have been lost. However, it does not contain coins that have been burned.

What is the total supply of cryptocurrency?

Total supply represents the total number of coins that have previously been produced or mined in a certain period. Not all of the coins listed in this measure are currently accessible for usage, and coins that have been burnt are excluded from consideration.

There is only a finite amount of cryptocurrency available in the ecosystem (including everything that has already been created, mined, or issued). The total supply includes all coins that have been mined, pre-mined, locked, and lost. But it does not include coins that have been burnt. 

An estimate of the total number of coins available falls somewhere between the circulating supply and the total supply. Furthermore, it’s important to know that the total supply isn’t equal to the maximum supply of a cryptocurrency. Even though the total supply of coins is known, this doesn’t mean the total number of coins that will be created in the future.

Total Supply

The total supply includes both the circulating supply (coins that are already in circulation in the market) and the total supply of coins that have not yet been released into the market. Another example of a coin held under lockup or vesting is a private sale or ICO event following it.

Inclusive vs. exclusive definitions: Only coins and tokens that are eventually burned are included in the total supply.

Circulating Supply

When you’re talking about the supply that is already in the public’s hands, circulating supply is what you’re referring to. This statement applies to proof-of-work cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. For example, block rewards, transaction fees, and the occasional genesis block create new coins, which, added to the coins already in circulation, equal the total supply. Although token generation events in ICOs tend to result in a lower circulating supply than the total supply, these events, in contrast, tend to have a higher overall circulating supply than the total supply.


Based on current and projected market trends, the most conservative estimation of the maximum number of coins that will ever exist in the lifetime of cryptocurrency is the maximum supply. When the maximum supply is reached, new coins or tokens will no longer be mined or minted. Most cryptocurrencies have a hard cap on the number of coins in circulation. 

The overall maximum supply is set by the underlying protocols of each digital asset, each of which sets its limits. The maximum supply of Bitcoin is fixed at 21 million units whereas Ether does not have a fixed number.

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