Bitcoin Halving & the Step to Maturation
It’s about a week to the long-expected Bitcoin halving.
You can easily find a counting down page by visiting the website of any exchange, online magazine or data aggregator. Yes — everybody is waiting for it.
It’s an event that brings both predictability and uncertainty.
What is Predictable?
Bitcoin was designed as a deflationary currency with a 21 million fixed supply, like gold. Over time, the issuance of bitcoins will decrease and thus become scarcer.
When it was first created, 50 Bitcoins per block were given as a reward to the miners. After every 210,000 blocks are mined (approximately every 4 years), the block reward halves and will keep on halving until the block reward per block becomes 0 (approximately by year 2140).
At about 06:18 UTC on May 12, 2020 (as of writing), the block rewards of Bitcoin will drop from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC.
What is Uncertain?
As is shown in this chart, we can note a significant price jump after each halving.
But will this time turn out to be a different story when both the stock market and the crypto market are much more volatile than usual due to the global COVID-19 pandemic?
The past few months saw a big shakeout in the crypto market due to the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath. On March 12, the Bitcoin price dumped 40% touching $3,800 within the day, marking a Black Thursday of the year.
The stock market went through a severe crash too. The US stock market triggered the “circuit breaker” four times within 10 days.
Just recently, the Bitcoin price soared above $9,000 and has now retraced to $8,864 at the time of writing, according to the statistics on CoinMarketCap.
Nobody knows for sure how things will be when the halving happens. Will the Bitcoin price be even more volatile or will it stabilize?
2020 Bitcoin Maturity Test
According to the Bloomberg Crypto Outlook (April 2020 Edition), the increasing futures open interest, declining volatility and relative outperformance despite the stock-market shakeout this year indicates Bitcoin is maturing from a speculative crypto asset toward a digital version of gold.
Increasing futures open interest
The number of Bitcoin futures contracts outstanding listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has recovered significantly from the March lows, indicating a resurgence in institutions that want to buy the cryptocurrency. The high volume also represents taming of the highly speculative bull market.
This graphic shows that the correlation between Bitcoin and gold has jumped to the highest since 2010, twice that of equities, suggesting that Bitcoin is now divorcing equities and joining gold.
Bitcoin Outperformed Stock Market
Apart from that, Bitcoin is becoming less of a risk-on asset. In the first quarter of 2020, Bitcoin remained up about 9% when the S&P 500 showed a correction of 20%.
To Sum Up
2020 marks a key test for Bitcoin’s transition from speculative asset to the crypto market’s version of gold. We believe that the first-born crypto will pass the test to move towards a mature gold-like asset.
At Leverj, we are working actively on the decentralized derivatives market including Bitcoin perpetuals which is expected to be launched in a couple of months.
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