Monday, May 11, 1:16 am EDT (New York time)
As of the time of this post, it’s estimated that the bitcoin halving will occur today, Monday, May 11, a little after 6:30 pm New York time (2230 GMT). That’s the estimate from CoinDesk, which has been running a countdown clock on their website for several months.
For those who don’t know, halving (not to be confused with a fork in the blockchain) is when miners will begin receiving half of their current bitcoin payment for their efforts.
Currently, bitcoin miners are earning 12.5 bitcoin (worth about $110,000) for the energy-intensive / computer-intensive, work they do — verifying bitcoin transactions, filling a new one-mega-Byte block with verified transactions, and being the first miner to discover a new “hash” by solving a devilishly-difficult math problem.
This 12.5 bitcoin payout to miners will be cut in half, to 6.25 bitcoin per block, after the halving today.
Bitcoin Halving occurs after a certain number of blockchain “blocks” have been created since the last halving — not by a predetermined date on the calendar. Hence, the “estimated” time mentioned above. Specifically, the halving will occur after 210,000 blocks have been created since the previous halving.
The bitcoin earned by miners are new, freshly-created bitcoin. And they are the only new bitcoin entering the market. Therefore, as the payout to miners is repeatedly cut in half, the number of new bitcoin coming into existence worldwide is repeatedly cut in half.
As the number of new bitcoin coming into existence declines (by half) every four years, or so, the number of new bitcoin will approach zero (asymptotically), placing a permanent cap on the total number of bitcoin in existence worldwide. That approach to effective zero will occur in the year 2140, at which time there will be 21,000,000 bitcoin (total) in existence.
With the end-date for the creation of new bitcoin so many years in the future, many people are surprised to learn that about 18,000,000 of those final 21,000,000 bitcoin already exist.
Here’s a graphic, which I borrowed from an Investopedia article —
A lot has been written about how today’s halving will affect the market for bitcoin. Currently, a popular forecast — shared by several commentators — predicts a major rise in the price of bitcoin over the coming year, or so, based on similar price-action after the two previous halvings (in 2012 and 2016).
This guy on Youtube has a chart indicating big price-rises in the months following previous halving events. If you’re thinking that this chart looks tame, compared to other bitcoin charts you may have seen, be aware of the logarithmic price scale on the right.
Charts similar to this one are currently appearing on various websites and Youtube channels.
Some target-prices being suggested range from $20,000 to $50,000 per token (coin). For those of us who hodl some bitcoin, those prices are fun to contemplate.
However, one is reminded of that familiar disclaimer:
“Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.”