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Bitcoin’s Next Phase: 5 Key Changes To Expect Post-2024 Halving

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 4 min read
Bitcoin's Next Phase: 5 Key Changes To Expect Post-2024 Halving

The highly anticipated fourth Bitcoin halving event is fast approaching, expected to occur around April 19, 2024.

This phenomenon isn’t just a quirk of Bitcoin’s design. It’s a fundamental shift in the blockchain’s architecture, cleverly engineered to slow down the creation of new Bitcoins.

The enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto masterminded the halving to have a finite supply cap of 21m tokens.

Halvings are spaced roughly every four years, or after every 210,000 blocks. They can be seen as milestones leading towards the final goal — when all 21m bitcoins have been mined, a moment expected around the year 2140. As of now, the Bitcoin network has churned out about 19m tokens, inching ever closer to that final count.

Halving Pump Likely to Be Followed by Downturn

The upcoming Bitcoin halving is widely considered to be one of the most positive indicators within the cyclical nature of the market.

Brian Dixon, CEO of Off the Chain Capital, highlighted a key distinction between past and present halvings. Historically, retail investors primarily drove demand for the asset. However, the current landscape encompasses a broader range of participants. These include institutional investors, public corporations, and even sovereign governments, he pointed out.

“This dramatic increase in the types of interested parties may create strong buying pressure compared to past halvings,” Dixon told Cryptonews.

Based on Dixon’s analysis, the optimal allocation window for Bitcoin falls within the six months preceding a halving. It also typically extends for 12-18 months following the event. During this post-halving period, Bitcoin has demonstrably achieved new all-time highs throughout past cycles. Dixon anticipates this trend to potentially continue within the forthcoming 12-18 months after the upcoming halving.

However, Anthony Georgiades, general partner at Innovating Capital, had a more circumspect perspective. He observed a historical pattern in which each halving was preceded by a price increase. This was followed by a period of roughly 90 to 180 days of sustained price appreciation after the halving itself. This upward trend, however, was then invariably followed by a significant price correction.

He suggests that this pattern becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Suppose market participants overwhelmingly anticipate a pre-halving price surge followed by a crash. In that case, their buying behavior will be driven by the expectation of a pump. And their selling will be similarly motivated by the anticipation of a subsequent downturn.

MicroStrategy to Have Waning Bitcoin Proxy Role

Aki Balogh, CEO of DLC.Link, downplayed the direct impact of the halving on Bitcoin’s demand.

However, he acknowledged that marketing efforts by major corporations such as MicroStrategy and BlackRock will likely raise public awareness among both institutional and retail investors.

Balogh also suggested that MicroStrategy’s role as a proxy for Bitcoin investment might diminish somewhat moving forward. He reasoned that for some investors, directly purchasing Bitcoin through an ETF is a more transparent option. Investors would prefer this method compared to acquiring shares in a company like MicroStrategy, whose board may have undisclosed objectives.

Miner Centralization

Every four years, the number of Bitcoin awarded to miners is halved. Since miners are the primary source of new Bitcoins entering circulation, this effectively reduces the future supply by 50% over the subsequent four-year period.

According to Jesper Johansen, CEO of Northstake, the halving will also induce volatility in the network’s hash rate. This is because miners using older equipment or facing higher operating costs may be forced offline due to reduced profitability.

He expressesed concern that this could exacerbate centralization trends, with large-scale mining pools benefiting from economies of scale and further concentrating hashing power.

The potential for mining centralization raises two key concerns, he said. Firstly, entities with significant control over the mining process could possess the ability to censor transactions by selectively refusing to confirm them. This directly contradicts Bitcoin’s core principles of decentralization and censorship resistance. Secondly, centralized mining pools might exert undue influence over decisions about protocol updates or modifications.

Further Maturation as an Asset Class

The 2024 Bitcoin halving replicated prior reductions in mining rewards by 50%. Still, it will unfold in a demonstrably different context compared to previous halving events.

Unlike the earlier halvings in 2012 and 2016, which coincided with Bitcoin being a relatively obscure phenomenon, or the 2020 halving that occurred amidst pandemic-induced economic disruptions, the current event takes place within a landscape characterized by burgeoning mainstream adoption and evolving regulatory frameworks.

Leo Smigel, a personal finance expert at Analyzing Alpha, vividly recalled the anticipation surrounding the first Bitcoin halving in 2012.

“When the halving happened and the block reward dropped from 50 to 25 BTC, I had no idea what was coming,” he said. “The price back then was around $12 – cheap pizzas and all that. But over the next year, we saw the first real Bitcoin bull run take off. By December 2013, 1 BTC hit over $1,100!”

With institutional investors finally entering the crypto market, demand appears poised for an upswing.

Therefore, while short-term price fluctuations are inherently unpredictable, Smigel said the halving bolsters his confidence in Bitcoin’s long-term viability as a digital equivalent to gold.

Bitcoin to Draw Developers from Across Ecosystems

Bill Laboon, director of education and governance Initiatives at the Web3 Foundation, anticipates a period of consolidation within the Bitcoin mining landscape. This is because the halving will render mining unprofitable for the least efficient miners.

While a sudden 50% reduction in production would be detrimental to businesses in many industries, Laboon acknowledges that the halving is a planned event, and miners have likely had time to prepare for its impact.

He characterized it as a social event as well. He suggests that the halving fosters a sense of community by uniting not only Bitcoin developers but also those from other blockchain ecosystems. This not only fosters excitement and boosts the morale of existing developers, but the heightened attention also attracts new developers to the Bitcoin ecosystem.