ndax logo

The Bitcoin Halving: Impact and Significance

Apr 16, 2024
byNDAX Labs

If you've been following Bitcoin for any length of time, you've likely heard the term "Bitcoin halving" come up. This cyclical event is considered one of the most important and anticipated occurrences in the crypto ecosystem. But what exactly is the Bitcoin halving, and why does it matter so much? 

Let's dig in (pun intended). ⛏️ 

Bitcoin Mining Basics 

To understand the Bitcoin halving, we first need to grasp the fundamentals of how Bitcoin is created and secured. 

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, maintained and verified by a network of computers known as nodes and miners. The miners use high-powered computing hardware to solve complex cryptographic puzzles, the process that sees new blocks added to the Bitcoin blockchain (and generates new BTC). 

It is in return for these efforts that miners are rewarded with newly minted Bitcoin. This mining reward acts as an incentive to maintain the network and validate transactions. 


The Bitcoin Halving Explained 

Here's where the halving comes into play. The Bitcoin protocol is designed to have a fixed supply, with only 21 million BTC that will ever be created. To control the rate at which new Bitcoin enters circulation, the mining reward is cut in half at predetermined intervals—or every 210,000 new blocks. 

At around 10 minutes per block, this event, known as the Bitcoin halving (or "halvening,” for the purists) ends up occurring roughly every 4 years, give or take a few hours or days. The first halving took place in 2012, when the block reward was reduced from 50 BTC to 25 BTC. The second halving happened in 2016, further cutting the reward to 12.5 BTC per block. The most recent halving in 2020 brought the block reward down to the current level of 6.25 BTC. Perhaps as a result of this predictable supply constraint, Bitcoin has been the best-performing asset of the last 15 years—by several thousands of percentages. (Reminder: Past performance never guarantees future results!) 

This next Bitcoin halving is expected to take place on/around April 20th, 2024, when the reward will be reduced to just 3.125 BTC per block mined. 


Why the Bitcoin Halving Matters 

The Bitcoin halving is significant for several reasons: 

1. Reduced Inflation 

Each halving event effectively reduces the rate of new Bitcoin entering circulation by 50%. This programmatic reduction in supply growth helps maintain Bitcoin's scarcity and deflationary nature over time. 

2. Increased Demand 

As the new BTC supply becomes more limited, basic economic principles suggest that demand for Bitcoin will increase. This has historically driven up the price and made BTC an attractive long-term savings technology. 

3. Miners' Incentives 

The halving directly impacts the profitability of Bitcoin mining. Miners must adapt to the reduced rewards, either by improving their efficiency, expanding their operations, or relying more on transaction fees. This can shake up the mining landscape and possibly even influence the decentralization of the network. 

4. Investor Confidence 

The predictable, transparent nature of the halving schedule is seen as a feature, not a bug, by most Bitcoin proponents. It demonstrates the cryptocurrency's sound monetary policy and the ability of the network to execute pre-programmed changes without disruption. 


Why The Halving Occurs 

Recently, new bitcoin entrants and the bitcoin curious have asked: “What happens if Bitcoin’s founder resurfaces and add 21M more coins to the protocol?” 

Thankfully, Bitcoin doesn’t work that way. As an open, permissionless protocol which is based on consensus, no single person or entity unilaterally has enough power to change the rules of the protocol. Not the protocol’s founder, not Jeff Bezos, and certainly not Bill Gates.  

The halving will occur on block 840,000 (and at every subsequent 210,000-block interval) for one reason and one reason only: Because these are the rules written into the code that every Bitcoin miner and node-runner has agreed to run. Unlike certain other monetary systems (that are not voluntary or consensus-based), the Bitcoin protocol does not change the rules mid-game. 


Anticipation and Impact 

Given the importance of the halving, it's no surprise that the Bitcoin community eagerly awaits each occurrence of this event (and indeed, even schedules parties all around the world to celebrate it.) Analysts closely monitor the potential market impact, and investors often adjust their strategies in anticipation of the halving's effects. 

While the exact price movements following a halving are difficult to predict, the long-term implications of reduced inflation and increased scarcity are widely viewed as positive for Bitcoin's future as a store of value and medium of exchange. 

Follow us on X and let us know what price and at what time you think Bitcoin will be at block 840,000! 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide investment, legal, accounting, tax or any other advice and should not be relied on in that or any other regard. The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of cryptocurrencies or otherwise.