Re: Suicide Cult
Total number of bitcoins that can ever exist:
21 million (when mining ends in 2140...but even if Bitcoin lasts until 2140, lost coins will make that number smaller)
Total amount of gold that has been mined:
165,000 metric tons (tonnes)
Number of satoshis in 21,000,000 BTC:
Number of grams in 165,000 tonnes of gold:
Number of atoms in 165,000,000,000 grams of gold:
The number of atoms of gold that have been mined is 6 orders of magnitude larger than the number of satoshis that can ever exist.
A satoshi would have to be broken down into units that are worth ~1/1,500,000th of a satoshi to create a number of units similar to a gold atom.
That IS possible, but would be completely pointless. Those tiny units would be completely worthless, even if there was no other currency except for BTC, and the resources it would require to keep track of the extra digits wouldn't be cost effective.
Also, altcoins do not have any value automatically. Their value is only based on what people think their potential could be. Some do have legitimate advantages of Bitcoin that will need to either be integrated into Bitcoin at some point, maybe via a "side chain", or they will grow to be a competing currency (or, at least a currency with a specific use).
Think of it like USD vs foreign currencies. USD is the most widely used currency in the world, at least for business, but that doesn't make it the only currency, nor does it negate the value of other currencies.
Finally, Bitcoin is not "the foundation" for altcoins. The Blockchain is. The Blockchain is the foundation for decentralized cryptocurrency, and other, related systems, in general...Bitcoin just happened to be the first one developed with it. Satoshi created the Blockchain based on decades of research, and previous attempts to create a decentralized consensus system...but others were working on similar ideas.