The next Bitcoin halving will take place in 2024. Is this a ‘buy the dip’ opportunity? With less than one year to the next big crypto event, investors are getting anxious.
Is it time to invest in Bitcoin as the halving approaches? Historical patterns suggest that Bitcoin’s price behaviour tends to follow a distinct cycle aligned with these halving events, which occur every four years.
These cycles, known as “epochs,” typically encompass a significant high and low point in Bitcoin’s value, with these events being roughly four years apart.
Interestingly, in each epoch, the significant low point usually materializes just over a year prior to the next halving. Therefore, long-standing Bitcoin advocates see little evidence to suggest a significant deviation from this pattern in the future.
Ultimately, the Bitcoin halving is just a reminder that the world’s most valuable crypto is designed to become increasingly scarce as time passes by. Even if your crypto investment isn’t in Bitcoin, this even still has a massive effect on the entire market, as Bitcoin represents almost 50% of the market.
What is Bitcoin halving?
Bitcoin is created by powerful computers which solve complicated mathematical puzzles to validate each blockchain block and generate new Bitcoins. Every four years (210,000 blocks, to be more exact), the reward for generating a new block is cut in half. Hence the name Bitcoin halving.
When Bitcoin started, miners got 50 Bitcoins for every block they added. This was a lot, but it helped attract people to the system.
For example, the first halving happened in 2012 when the reward dropped from 50 to 25 Bitcoins. The second halving, in 2016, cut the reward down to 12.5 Bitcoins. The most recent halving in 2020 reduced the reward to just 6.25 Bitcoins.
The next halving is expected to happen in 2024. This halving process will continue until we hit around the year 2140, by which time all 21 million Bitcoins should have been mined.
Why does Bitcoin halving happen?
Imagine the Bitcoin system as a digital gold mine that’s programmed to dig up a new chunk of gold every 10 minutes. As more miners (people with powerful computers) join the hunt, they’re able to dig up gold faster. But to keep things fair and maintain the 10-minute digging goal, the digging process is made harder every couple of weeks. Despite the growth of the Bitcoin network over the past decade, the average digging time has stayed below 10 minutes, around 9.5 minutes, to be exact.
Now, the total amount of Bitcoin that can ever exist is capped at 21 million. When this number is hit, no more Bitcoin can be created. Bitcoin halving is a process that gradually reduces the amount of new Bitcoin that can be mined each time a block is added to the blockchain. This makes Bitcoin scarcer and potentially more valuable over time.
You might think that halving the reward for mining would make people less interested in doing it. But Bitcoin halvings have historically been associated with big jumps in Bitcoin’s price. This keeps miners motivated to mine more, even though they’re getting less Bitcoin each time they mine a block.
So, miners are encouraged to keep digging as long as the price of Bitcoin keeps going up. If the price doesn’t rise and the reward for mining keeps getting smaller, miners might be less interested in mining Bitcoin. This is because it takes a lot of time, computer power, and electricity to mine Bitcoin.
If you want to know more about Bitcoin, check out this Bitcoin hard fork guide, which explains all past forks which affected all BTC holders.
Should I buy Bitcoin?
Investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne shared his perspective, recommending that those seeking to benefit from Bitcoin should consider purchasing now, as the period preceding the halving might not present as advantageous an entry point. He advised, “Avoid shorting when it’s dark green and ensure you’re fully invested before it turns blue.”
In the earlier part of the month, a well-known yet contentious figure in the Bitcoin industry used the halving narrative to argue that the pricing cycles aren’t a matter of coincidence. PlanB, the anonymous creator of the Stock-to-Flow (S2F) Bitcoin price prediction models, noted that about half of the market participants believe the link between halvings and price is random.
PlanB’s comments were framed within the debate over the relevance of the S2F theory to halvings, a theory that has faced considerable criticism due to unmet price predictions from 2021 onwards. However, PlanB also asserts that the current BTC/USD value is low, and the market hasn’t adequately factored in the upcoming halving.
PlanB questioned, “Why is bitcoin S2F/halving not priced in? Because ~50% thinks the BTC price jumps after last 3 halvings (red) are a coincidence.
Why isn’t the Bitcoin S2F/halving reflected in the price? Approximately 50% believe the price spikes following the last three halvings are coincidental,” adding an explanatory chart to his statement. He continued, “Halvings are key to S2F, but these critics focus on auto-correlation between halvings and conclude there is no relation between S2F/halvings and price. I disagree, obviously. 2024 halving will be very interesting!”
What does the Bitcoin halving event mean?
Think about Bitcoin miners like gold miners. They get paid in Bitcoin for their hard work of adding new transactions to the blockchain. But when Bitcoin halving happens, miners earn less for their work. This means fewer new Bitcoins enter circulation, similar to how less gold would be available if miners dug up less gold.
Here’s where the basic rules of supply and demand come in.
When the supply of something goes down, but demand stays the same or even goes up, the price usually goes up.
The halving event also slows down how fast new Bitcoin is made, which helps control inflation. Inflation is like when a dollar can’t buy as much as it used to. But Bitcoin is designed to be the opposite – it’s supposed to become more valuable over time. The halving event helps make this happen.
For instance, Bitcoin’s inflation rate was 50% in 2011, but it dropped to 12% in 2012 after the first halving and 4-5% in 2016 after the second halving. Currently, it sits at around 1.77%. So, after each halving, Bitcoin tends to become more valuable.
However, this process isn’t without its issues. Mining Bitcoin uses a lot of electricity, and miners might struggle to break even if the reward they’re getting is halved but the price of Bitcoin doesn’t go up enough to cover their costs.
Also, because of this, miners will be on the lookout for newer, more efficient technologies that can help them mine more Bitcoin while using less energy.
Besides, Bitcoin’s growing popularity and its acceptance by more businesses and big institutions might also push its price up. More transactions are likely to happen as more people start to use Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Time to buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is currently at a low point, trading around $27,300, after dropping almost 2% recently. This dip came as Binance, a significant cryptocurrency exchange, temporarily stopped Bitcoin withdrawals twice in one day due to technical issues. However, these operations have since resumed, and there are signs that Bitcoin could be gearing up for a recovery.
Despite the recent dip, Bitcoin showed promising resistance last week at $29,000, indicating the potential to climb back to $30,000.
Many Bitcoin investors are hopeful due to anticipated pauses in U.S. interest rate hikes and shifting trust from traditional finance to decentralized finance (DeFi). Combined with the upcoming Bitcoin halving event in 2024, which typically brings a surge in Bitcoin’s value, some experts predict Bitcoin could reach $35,000.
Still, it’s important to remember that Bitcoin is trading 50% lower than its all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021, and the journey to recovery may be lengthy. Also, external factors such as regulatory changes in countries like India could influence the market.
So, is it time to buy Bitcoin? It seems like a potentially advantageous time, given the low price and positive future prospects. But, as always with cryptocurrencies, it’s crucial to be vigilant and cautious due to their volatile nature. It’s best to stay informed about the current macroeconomic conditions and regulatory developments.