With the addition of the pay reward halving every 4 years, there will now be an absolute hard cap on the number of bitshares.
Starting BTS total: 2.5 billion. This comes from current BTSX (2 billion), plus stake allocated to PTS, AGS, DNS, and VOTE (500 million total).
Starting reward per year: 157,680,000. (50 BTS per block * 6 blocks per minute * 60 minutes per hour * 24 hours per day * 365 days per year).
4 years at this rate is 630,720,000. After that, the reward halves, and in the next 4 years, we add half that. And so on. The total number of bitshares that will EvER be paid to delegates is capped at 1,261,440,000. (In reality it will be less, because many delegates are low pay delegates).
Here is the hard cap
of BTS at 4 year intervals:
Nov 2014: 2,500,000,000 (maximum 6.3% a year inflation)
Nov 2018: 3,130,720,000 (maximum 3.1% a year inflation)
Nov 2022: 3,446,080,000 (maximum 1.6% a year inflation)
Nov 2026: 3,603,760,000 (maximum 0.8% a year inflation)
Nov 2030: 3,682,600,000 (maximum 0.4% a year inflation)
Also, every share of BTS that is ever burned reduces all of these numbers by 1! So every time a share of BTSX is ever burned for trasnaction fees, etc, this cap goes down!
Every time any delegate ever receives less than a full pay block reward, the hard cap goes down!
For example, we are going to have many 3% pay delegates, in with a few full pay delegates who are developers, marketing team, etc.
Every single time one of those 3% pay delegates signs a block, these numbers go down by 48.5, because that is 48.5 BTS that cannot be created (because the opportunity to pay the full 50 BTS was missed).
So what is the reality of how many BTS there will be? Significantly less than these numbers! These are a hard cap which occurs only if there are 101 full pay delegates and no shares of BTSX are burned ever. Both of those are not true, and thus the actual amount of BTS will be much lower.