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What is the bitcoin “halving”?

Matt Levin Apr 19, 2024
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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

What is the bitcoin “halving”?

Matt Levin Apr 19, 2024
Heard on:
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As of Friday morning, one bitcoin costs about $65,000. That’s down from an all-time high of over $70,000 earlier this year but well above where bitcoin was trading in 2023.

Likely sometime Friday or Saturday morning, something called the bitcoin halving is supposed to happen — a once-every-four-years event where the number of new bitcoins that come into circulation drops in half.

It’s a big deal for the whole philosophical premise of bitcoin. Bitcoin is programmed so that, over time, fewer and fewer new bitcoins enter circulation.

In contrast, most governments can print about as much money as they want — which, as any bitcoin true believer will very enthusiastically tell you, could devalue that money.

“Investors purchase bitcoin because they are uncertain about the outlook for fiat currencies, uncertain about government budget deficits and inflation,” said Zach Pandl, who heads research at Grayscale Investments, a crypto asset manager.

After every previous halving, bitcoin shot up in price, although big investment firms like JPMorgan are skeptical.

A lot of new money already flowed into bitcoin earlier this year, after the SEC made it easier to invest in, according to Matt Hougan at Bitwise Asset Management.

“We also had big asset managers coming into the space, and that caused a lot of price appreciation,” he said.

Of course what goes up can also go down. in 2022, bitcoin lost about 60% of its value.

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