In a touch more than 24-hours time, the third bitcoin halving will take place on May 12, 2020, on or around 9:50 p.m. ET. Miners will see their revenues slashed in half from 12.5 coins to 6.25 BTC after the halving and speculators wonder what will happen after the event. Currently, according to Google Trends the term “bitcoin halving” is one of the most searched topics within the crypto ecosystem today.
Prior Bitcoin Halvings
On Saturday evening give or take a few hours and minutes, the BTC network will experience the third block reward halving in its history. The first two halvings correlated with gigantic price surges and speculators are assuming the next “quantitative hardening,” will produce the same effect. The first block halving occurred in November 2012 and the price per BTC jumped from $11 per coin, to around $1,150 toward the end of 2013. Similarly, the second halving, which took place in July 2016 also saw a massive spike in bitcoin’s value. The price immediately after the 2016 halving was around $650 per BTC and the price surged to $19,600 on December 17, 2017. There has always been a great number of people who theorize that the third halving will produce the same outcome, but there are many skeptics who disagree.
What is a Bitcoin Halving?
A halving is when the blockchain protocol changes the reward for miners every 210,000 blocks mined, which is roughly around 4 years per interval. Before the 2012 halving, miners got 50 BTC and after the event, the reward was reduced to 25 BTC per block. After the last halving event, miners saw the 25 BTC reward slashed to 12.5 coins per block. This process, sometimes referred to as “quantitative hardening,” is of stark contrast to quantitative easing (QE) practices central banks partake in. The system will continue to produce block rewards and halve every four years, until on or around the year 2140.
Essentially, Nakamoto’s system is a synthetic form of inflation protection, that is meant to keep BTC scarce over the course of its history. Estimates show that right now BTC’s per annum inflation rate is around 3.6% and after May 12 it will drop to 1.8%. BTC’s inflation rate will meander around 1.8% until the next halving and will likely be around 1.1% following the fourth block reward reduction. Estimates also show that through the year 2025 and the halving in 2026, BTC’s inflation rate will be as low as 0.4%. The next 1.8% inflation rate will be lower than the world’s central banks’ benchmark reference rate. Soon after that, the issuance will even outshine the precious metal gold. Basically, what that means is it will be slower to produce than all the gold mined on earth being added to circulation, and gold mining rewards don’t cut in half every four years either.
Why Does the Halving Matter?
The halving is not only a big deal as far as scarcity is concerned, but it will also have economic implications on miners. Every halving miners get their revenues cut in half and in order for them to profit, the price must balance the amount of capital they are putting into operations. Miners want to profit and if transaction fees and the overall price of BTC is lower than what they are spending, they will be forced to shut down. Following the third halving, miners will not be the biggest sellers of BTC, and cryptocurrency exchanges will be taking that position away from them.
The two things cryptocurrency supporters will be watching closely during the BTC halving on and after May 12, will be the cryptocurrency’s hashrate and price. Some skeptics believe that if the price of BTC doesn’t outweigh the costs to mine, then there will be a lot of miner capitulation. This means the hashrate or overall security of the proof-of-work chain would reduce in miners left in mass exodus. If the price jumps above the cost to mine blocks and higher, then the hashrate should increase and the security will also be bolstered even more so. The firm Tradeblock assumes the price per BTC needs to be at least $12,500 per coin to avoid miner capitulation.
Where Can I Observe the Halving Countdown, Price, and Hashrate?
Spectators interested in watching the halving can check out one of these five countdown clocks such as Bitcoinblockhalf.com, Bitcoin Halving – Brave New Coin, Binance Academy – Bitcoin Halving Countdown, Bitcoinclock.com, and Blockchair – Bitcoin 2020 Halving Tools.
Cryptocurrency supporters can also follow BTC’s overall hashrate by leveraging Bitcoin.com’s charts and educational resources. BTC’s market price can be followed on markets.Bitcoin.com and charts.Bitcoin.com will show visitors the BTC network’s hashpower. The countdown clocks, bitcoin’s price, and the hashrate will be the three most-watched data points during the next 24 hours and during the next few weeks following the halving event.
What do you think about the third Bitcoin Halving? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Coin Metrics, Bitcoinblockhalf.com
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