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.
Following numerous postponements, Ethereum validators are now able to retrieve their staked Ether and associated rewards from the Ethereum mainnet. The Shapella hard fork has been successfully implemented on the Ethereum mainnet, enabling validators to withdraw their staked Ether from the Beacon Chain.
The highly anticipated Shapella update on Ethereum has been launched, introducing the much-awaited new feature, the Ether unstaking. The Ethereum community has expressed various reactions to the latest update in the ecosystem. The term “Shapella” is a combination of “Shanghai” and “Capella,” referring to simultaneous upgrades. This hard fork marks a significant milestone in Ethereum’s development, generating excitement among community members for the network’s future.
The highly anticipated update occurred at 10:27 pm UTC on April 12, during epoch number 194,048. In the initial hour following the hard fork, Ethereum block explorer beaconchai.in reported that 12,859 Ether were released through 4,333 withdrawals.
Ether staking rewards are withdrawn
At present, approximately 44% of validators, equating to 248,043 out of 559,549 active validators, have the option to request a partial or complete withdrawal.
Most of the current withdrawals range from 2.8 to 3.2 ETH, indicating that primarily staking rewards are being withdrawn at this time. Data from Rated Network Explorer reveals that just before the Shapella hard fork was implemented, 3,996 validators joined the exit queue.
Based on data from blockchain analytics company Nansen, crypto exchange Huobi possesses the most significant portion of withdrawable Ether at 30%. The decentralized autonomous organization PieDAO follows with a 17.7% share.
Nansen data indicates that 284,622 Ether from 7,948 validators are awaiting complete withdrawal. The price of Ether experienced minimal fluctuations during the first hour after the hard fork, as forecasted in an April 11 report by blockchain intelligence platform Glassnode. In theory, the hard fork could unlock 18.1 million Ether on the Beacon Chain, which is equivalent to over $34.8 billion.
However, the Ethereum Foundation has implemented several measures to prevent a sudden influx of ETH into the market. Glassnode’s report projected that less than 1% of the total amount would be released during the first week, and the 12,859 Ether unlocked within the first-hour accounts for a mere 0.07% of the total Ether staked on the Beacon Chain.
As for the market, the predictions are optimistic. The capacity of Ether to surpass resistance levels has led some analysts to predict a $3,000 price target in Q2 2023. Data from analytics provider Santiment reveals that whale accumulation remains robust, increasing by 0.5% in March.
This positive buying activity could support on-chain data indicating that Ether sell pressure following the Shanghai hard fork will be insignificant.
Ethereum Investment Proposal EIP-4895 facilitated the transfer of staked Ether from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This is known as the execution layer, thereby enabling withdrawals. This update on the Ethereum blockchain represents the most substantial upgrade since the Merge on September 15 and brings Ethereum one step closer to achieving a fully operational proof-of-stake system.
The community celebrates the Ethereum Shapella upgrade
During the Shapella watch party organized by the Ethereum Foundation team, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin expressed that the network is currently in a “really good place.” He said the most challenging and rapid aspects of the Ethereum protocol’s transition have essentially concluded. There are still substantial tasks to be accomplished, but they can proceed at a more relaxed pace.
In celebration of the new update, crypto singer Jonathan Mann performed a song at the Shapella watch party.
As some community members celebrated the event, others focused on the network’s future prospects. Ethereum community member Anthony Sassano highlighted the next significant feature, EIP-4844, which aims to improve the scalability of rollups on Ethereum.
The Shapella update is expected to attract more institutional investors to Ethereum.
The recent SEC lawsuit against Paxos over Binance USD (BUSD) has caused confusion and debate among the cryptocurrency community.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a wells notice to Paxos. They claim that BUSD is an unregistered security, which resulted in the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) ordering the halt of BUSD issuance.
This has led to a range of reactions from the crypto community, with some members dismissing it as fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), while others view it as an attack on the Binance exchange.
The community is split on their thoughts about the situation, with some saying that those who bought the stablecoin were not expecting it to increase in value.
The crypto community on Twitter started to talk about this controversy, but they seem to agree that nobody would buy a stablecoin and anticipate a profit. Others expressed confusion about the development, questioning how BUSD can be considered a security and asking their followers if they expected its value to reach $2.
Some even took it more personally, attacking SEC chairperson Gary Gensler, suggesting that he is on an “unhinged, unchecked crusade against crypto.”
However, some dismissed the news as FUD and pointed out that BUSD is fully backed and the halt in issuance by Paxos will not affect existing tokens. They encouraged everyone to stay informed but advised against making emotional decisions. A few voices have also pointed out the urgent need for a stablecoin registry framework.
Bitcoin analyst Tedtalksmacro also expressed similar thoughts, suggesting that BUSD may not meet the criteria of a security. The analyst hinted that the situation might just be a way to target Binance.
The SEC claims that BUSD is an unregistered security and is suing it's issuer Paxos 🚩
To be considered a security, the Howey Test is used… I don't think BUSD meets the criteria, it's a damn stablecoin!?
It’s important to understand that despite stablecoins being designed to have a fixed value, their holders can still generate profits through methods such as arbitrage, hedging, and staking.
What is BUSD?
BUSD is a stablecoin co-founded by Paxos and Binance. Paxos leverages blockchain technology to provide its Stablecoin as a Service product to other companies.
The company has also previously developed a stablecoin backed by gold, known as PAX Gold (PAXG). Both BUSD and PAXG tokens fall under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Financial Services.
BUSD is a fiat-backed stablecoin, pegged to the U.S. dollar. Paxos holds an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars in FDIC-insured banks or backed by U.S. Treasuries, serving as the reserves for the total supply of BUSD.
The price of BUSD adjusts in equal amounts to the changes in the value of the U.S. dollar.
Binance’s CEO still supports BUSD
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as “CZ,” announced that the exchange would continue to support Binance USD (BUSD), despite the announcement made by the SEC that argues that BUSD is an unregistered security.
Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance, has reassured users that their funds are secure despite regulatory enforcement.
However, he stressed the fact that Paxos, regulated by NYDFS, fully owns and manages BUSD.
Paxos will continue to manage BUSD, including redemptions, and its reserves have been audited by multiple parties, according to Zhao. He acknowledged that the enforcement action might cause a decrease in BUSD’s market cap over time. But Binance will consider alternative non-USD-based stablecoins.
Despite this, Binance will remain supportive of BUSD on the exchange, though it acknowledges that some users may switch to other stablecoin tokens due to the enforcement.
CZ also explained that Paxos, the issuer of the Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoin, is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. He has made assurances of its reserves, which have been audited by multiple parties.
Zhao also acknowledged that the actions taken by the SEC and NYDFS could have a significant impact on the future development of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. He warned of the potential implications if BUSD is ruled as a security by the courts.
Given the regulatory uncertainty in certain markets, Binance may also review other projects to ensure the safety of its users. This comes after a number of cryptocurrency service providers, and tokens have faced enforcement actions by American regulators, including Ripple’s ongoing legal battle with the SEC over XRP being an unregistered security. Kraken also ceased its staking services to U.S. clients and paid a $30 million settlement to the SEC for failing to register its crypto asset staking program.
The upgrade from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain is now completed. What does this mean for the first programmable blockchain?
On September 15, 2022, after years of development, Ethereum’s developers completed the Merge – the upgrade from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. The PoS network is expected to power a more energy-efficient blockchain while reducing transaction fees and improving scalability.
Potentially, the payoff could be huge. Ethereum should now use 99.9% less energy. According to one estimate, Ethereum’s energy consumption dropped from 77.77 TWh on September 14 to 0.01 TWh on September 16, 2022.
The developers of Ethereum claim that the upgrade will bring the network, which houses many cryptocurrency tokens, to a more scalable and secure state. Ethereum’s TVL (Total Value Locked) is at about $30 billion, considering all its DeFi apps – DEXs, lending protocols, NFT marketplaces, and other apps.
The Ethereum Merge was completed at 7 a.m. UTC. However, the price of Ether (ETH) started to slowly decrease, dropping by 12% on the first day after the Merge. Ether’s price started a downtrend, and many investors are bearish.
PoS Ethereum = no more ETH miners
In 2008, when Bitcoin was created, it introduced the concept of a decentralized ledger – a single immutable record that computers all over the globe could access and trust without intermediaries.
In 2015, Ethereum was introduced. It expanded on the core concepts of Bitcoin’s blockchain by adding smart contracts. These smart contracts are bits of code that use the blockchain to record data onto its network and trigger automated transactions when certain pre-defined conditions are met. This innovation was key to decentralized financing (DeFi) and NFTs, which were the major catalysts for the recent crypto boom.
On Ethereum’s proof-of-work (PoW) network, crypto miners were responsible for verifying transactions and adding new blocks to the blockchain in exchange for rewards paid in ETH. These blockchain operations required miners to invest in expensive hardware equipment that was capable of solving the required cryptographic puzzles – hence the intensive energy consumption of the network.
Ethereum miners were often organized in farms, which were actually huge buildings filled with mining equipment, similar to data centers, which were a huge strain on any energy network.
The new proof-of-stake system for Ethereum, which is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, completely eliminates mining.
Miners are now replaced by validators. To become an Ethereum Validator, you must stake 32 ETH on the network. This means that maintaining Ethereum’s network security will not rely anymore on an energy-intensive computer network but the value of ETH stakes. It will require a similar level of electricity as any other computer software.
Proof-of-stake is a system where the staked amount of ETH – and not the energy expended – determines who has control of the network. This makes attacks more costly and self-destructive, according to proof-of-stake boosters. Attackers can have their staked Ethereum slashed or reduced as punishment for trying to harm the network.
However, some are skeptical about the proof-of-stake security. There are no indications that Bitcoin, for example, will ever abandon the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, as it is still seen as the more secure system.
Now, Ethereum’s security relies on stakers
The upgrade to a PoS blockchain ends the network’s dependence on energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining.
The idea that Ethereum would eventually switch to proof of stake was clear from the beginning. However, the transition was complicated and risky. Many people doubted that it would ever happen.
The complexity of the update was exacerbated by the fact it was one of the most complex open-source software projects in history. It required coordination among dozens of teams as well as volunteers, researchers, and developers.
Tim Beiko, an Ethereum foundation developer, played a crucial role in the coordination of the update. He believed that more investors would become interested in crypto after this monumental milestone in the crypto universe.
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s creator, suggested that there’s still a long way ahead for the network: “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey towards being a very mature system, but there are still steps left to go.”
Despite the 60% price drop from last year, El Salvador is celebrating its first Bitcoin anniversary. The good news is that Bitcoin is still a legal tender in El Salvador – and so the experiment continues.
On September 7, 2021, El Salvador was the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender. Many have criticized the decision, and others have been waiting to see this experiment fail. But so far, the first country to adopt a cryptocurrency as legal tender has managed to survive.
El Salvador and their pro-Bitcoin president
El Salvador president Nayib Bukele is a true advocate for Bitcoin. In September 2021, when he adopted the Bitcoin Law, he promised that this Bitcoin adoption as legal tender would help 70% of the local population without access to banking services.
Some of the main arguments for the pro-Bitcoin law were:
Foreign investments. The government believed that Bitcoin would attract new investments from crypto companies.
Create new jobs
Reduce reliance on the U.S. Dollar
While the economy is still struggling, some are now questioning the country’s economic future, as Bitcoin has lost over 60% in value since it has become a legal tender in El Salvador.
But let’s take a look at the stats.
On September 7, 2021, the price of 1 Bitcoin was around $46,100.
The first Bitcoin purchase by the Salvadoran government was made on Sept. 6, 2021. They bought 200 BTC for $10.36million. That means that the average price paid for 1 BTC was $51,800. This is a stark contrast to current BTC prices, as Bitcoin fell below $19,000 on September 7, 2022. This represents a 68.78% drop in the last year.
Data from Nayib Bukele’s portfolio tracker shows that El Salvador’s government is now at loss with all its 10 Bitcoin purchases since adopting it as legal tender.
The total purchase by the Salvadoran government adds up to 2,381 BTC. Considering the current price, the crypto holdings are now worth over $60 million less than what they originally paid.
Alejandro Zelaya, El Salvador’s Minister of Finance, previously stated that the country did not experience any losses due to falling prices. This is because they didn’t sell the coins. Unfavorable market conditions, geopolitical issues, and delays by the Salvadoran government have caused it to repeatedly delay its Bitcoin bond project.
Despite plummeting crypto prices and the continued bear market, industry observers began to refer to El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption in a negative light. Others suggested that it might be a failure because the country appears to have had some positive effect on El Salvador’s financial market and economy, including the cost of transactions.
But El Salvador is still advocating for crypto
The overall struggle has put some strains on individuals, and only a few are willing to trade this volatile asset. But there is a great plus to it. People use Bitcoin transactions to send money from abroad to their families in El Salvador. And that’s because BTC blockchain transactions are cheaper than wire transfer fees offered by traditional banks.
Another great news is that the country is now a holiday spot for Bitcoin supporters from all over the world. The El Salvadorian Bitcoin Law has been a success in terms of tourism and foreign investment. Tourism in El Salvador has increased by 82% in the first half of 2022. Over one million tourists visited the country in 2022.
It seems that the Bitcoin law acted as a marketing campaign on which many countries spend billions of dollars.
Even more, it seems that Bukele, the president of El Salvador, is one of the most popular presidents in power, with an approval rating of 85%. However, this could also be due to his tough-on-crime policies.
Unfortunately, many businesses in El Salvador refused to use Bitcoin, and consumers rarely choose it as a payment method.
The El Salvador Central Reserve Bank reported that Salvadorans living in other countries had sent more than $52 million in remittances between January and May 2022. A 400% increase in Lightning Network transactions in 2022 was also due to the adoption of Bitcoin by the Salvadoran government-backed Chivo wallet. That’s because citizens from abroad use it to make commission-free crypto transfers.
It seems that El Salvador is the ideal place to experiment with Lightning applications, as well as to create a trusted ecosystem of proven and interconnected services.
Ethereum miners will need to switch course as soon as September, when the network will no longer require miners to validate transactions and create new blocks. They might consider mining other cryptocurrencies or even give up completely.
After The Merge, the Ethereum miners will no longer be part of the network participants, and they will have to shift their use of the network. The roles of Ethereum miners will now be obsolete, and they are forced to find alternative income streams.
The sudden change took, in fact, years of research and development, but after The Merge, Ethereum will finally be described as a safer, energy-efficient, and scalable blockchain network.
After the Ethereum network moved to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism (PoS), it is now that Ethereum miners face a sudden change. Their role effectively ends, and they are forced to look for alternative income streams.
This historical moment for the Ethereum community, known as the “The Merge,” is expected to take place on September 15th, 2022, but might take place even sooner.
What’s the Ethereum Merge?
The Ethereum Merge is the switch from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. In plain English, a PoS blockchain doesn’t require miners (aka energy-intensive computers) to validate transactions and create new blocks but replies on stakers and validators.
This will have many benefits, including the elimination of energy-intensive mining. To secure the network, the network will instead use staking.
Over the years, as more applications have been deployed on Ethereum, users have been hit with high transaction fees, low scalability, and even network congestion. But all of these are expected to change in the near future.
When complete, the Merge will eliminate Ethereum’s high gas fees, improve scalability and security, and provide greater sustainability.
What will happen to Ethereum miners?
Since its creation, Ethereum has relied on GPU (graphics processing unit) rigs to perform the process of Ethereum mining. They are more flexible than the ones used for bitcoin mining, and can be reconfigured to mine other coins more easily. GPUs are used by gamers but can also be used to mine other cryptos such as Ergo, Ravencoin, and Ethereum Classic.
But as Ethereum is being upgraded, all these miners will have to either start mining other coins or give up crypto mining entirely. It’s worth noting that a profitable mining rig costs more than $1,000, and the operation’s success relies on the cost of electricity, which has also gone up dramatically since the beginning of 2022.
In the past, Ethereum mining was very popular due to its profitability. However, miners will have to switch course and employ their GPUs on other blockchains. While a shift to mining other cryptocurrencies could result in a decrease in profits in the short term, it still represents income for owners of these expensive mining rigs.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the switch could be Ethereum Classic (ETC), as some expect many of the Ethereum miners to turn to Ethereum Classic. It’s worth noting that the ETC hashrate has started to rise since July. Some investors might even view Ethereum Classic as a hedge against potential disruptions in Ethereum’s blockchain during the transition from PoW-to-PoS.
Can Ethereum miners switch to Bitcoin mining? Not really, because the two networks use different mining algorithms. Bitcoin requires ASIC-compatible hardware, which has a higher performance, but it’s also more energy intensive. ETH, on the other hand, uses a mining algorithm called “Ethash,” which was designed to be ASIC-resistant.
After Ethereum moves to PoS, the most likely outcome is that miners will distribute their rigs among different networks that support GPU mining.