What is Bitcoin Halving?

April 10, 2024
2 min read

In the world of cryptocurrencies, few events attract as much attention and speculation as Bitcoin halving. Programmed into Bitcoin protocol and happening every four years, Bitcoin halving has significant implications for miners, investors, and enthusiasts alike. But what exactly is it, and why does it matter? 

Understanding Bitcoin

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, operates on a secure, decentralized network of computers called blockchain. Bitcoins are acquired by a process known as mining. Miners use powerful computers (mining rigs) to solve complex mathematical problems, validate transactions, and add them to the blockchain. Once successful miners get rewarded with a certain amount of bitcoins for the work they have done.

Due to the competitive nature of the mining process, only the miner who solves the cryptographic puzzle first and adds a new block to the blockchain gets a reward for the work they have done.

As per design, Bitcoin supply is limited to 21 million that are to be released at a predictable rate to maintain scarcity, transparency, and trust. The mechanism used to achieve this is called "halving."

What is Bitcoin halving?

Bitcoin halving is an event programmed into the Bitcoin protocol that occurs approximately every four years or after every 210,000 blocks mined. 

During this event, the reward that miners receive for validating transactions and securing the network is reduced by half. This reduction has a profound impact on the supply dynamics of Bitcoin.

How does it work?

Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin's creator, mined the first-ever blockchain block known as the Genesis Block and initiated the reward for Bitcoin mining at 50 BTC per block.

Here is a summary of the other three Bitcoin halving events up to April 2024.

The next Bitcoin halving is expected to happen in Week 16 (15.04-21.04.2024) and is generating a lot of interest and speculation. Since the beginning of 2024, Bitcoin has seen more than a 40% rise in prices, and as of April 8th, BTC price was $71.77K.

Implications of Bitcoin halving

Miner profits

Halving events directly impact miners' profitability. With a lower block amount as a reward, miners with relative success in solving mathematical problems must change their operations or acquire more powerful equipment to be profitable, which increases competition and drives less productive miners away. 

Controlled supply

Satoshi Nakamoto wanted to create a digital currency with a managed supply. Reducing the mining rewards by half decreases the rate at which new Bitcoin is generated, enforces scarcity, and potentially drives up the cryptocurrency’s value.

Inflation control

The Bitcoin halving contributes to limiting excessive inflation in the Bitcoin ecosystem. The rate at which new Bitcoin reaches the market is decreased by lowering the block reward.