What is Bitcoin?
Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper 31/Oct 2008, created the bitcoin genesis block 03/Jan 2009, and released the bitcoin code 08/Jan 2009. So begins a journey that leads to a $70bn bitcoin (BTC) market today.
Bitcoin is the first digital object that cannot be copied, duplicated, pirated or forged. Those are the primary attributes that give its unique value. Bitcoin is the first digitally scarce thing known to mankind, and within its inner workings is a Mathematical mechanism that should make Bitcoin’s value continue to rise. Each bitcoin is mined from so-called “blocks”. A block is a 1MB piece of information that describes all transactions that take place within a period of time. A new block is generated roughly every 10 minutes. The Bitcoin network has been generating blocks, uninterrupted ever since its inception. The first block (genesis block) was generated on the 3rd of January 2009 and the reward for mining it was 50 bitcoins (BTC). Every subsequent block had the same mining reward but on every 210.000 generated blocks there is an event called “halving” which cuts, in half, the reward value distributed to miners from that moment on. In other words from block 210.000 onwards the reward is halved to 25 BTC; from block 420.000 onwards, it’s halved to 12,5 BTC; and so on. Since blocks are generated every 10 minutes, “halving events” take place every 35.000 hours: almost exactly every 4 years.
Why are halvings important
Halving events will continue taking place until the reward for miners reaches 0 BTC. Since Bitcoin’s value representation has 8 decimal places, after the 33rd halving, the value of the reward will hit precisely 0 BTC. 33 halving events every 4 years adds up to 132 years total. The last Bitcoin to be mined into existence will be mined in the year 2140. It will be the 21 million’th Bitcoin to come into existence, and last, after which point it will be impossible to create anymore. From then on, Bitcoin will become truely ‘deflationary’, since “printing” / “minting” / “mining” new coins will no longer be possible, and if owners keep on losing their private keys, as they currently are, then the supply would further deflate by that lost-keys ratio.