Impending Halving Creates Chaos and Opportunity in Bitcoin Market


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As we get closer and closer to the impending Bitcoin halving, the combined pressures of wildly increasing demand and shrinking supply have created an unusual market, turning a historically positive omen into an explosive opportunity for profit.

The Bitcoin ETF approval has changed the face of Bitcoin as we know it. Since the SEC made its fateful decision in January, the resultant developments have caused worldwide upheaval; billions have flown into these new investment opportunities, and regulators in many countries are considering the role of Bitcoin in the financial establishment. Despite some initial setbacks, the market has comfortably hit new all-time highs, and the price has stayed in a very impressive range even despite fluctuations.

Nevertheless, we are in a very unique situation that can impact the market in unpredictable ways. Bitcoin’s next halving is set to arrive in April, and this will be the first time in its entire history that the halving will coincide with an all-time high for price. Although there have been a great deal of differences between each of the major halvings, a trend has been generally noticeable: even if there are huge steady gains, it is in the ballpark of a year to 18 months before Bitcoin breaks all records with a true price spike. One year out from the halving in June 2016, Bitcoin had more than doubled; yet a few months later, the growth was closer to 30x.

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There is plenty of optimism from substantial industry players, such as Standard Chartered’s bold prediction that Bitcoin’s value will more than double to $150k before the year is over. However, their analysis of the situation is not mostly based on halving trends but on the rampaging success of the Bitcoin ETF, and that success has also thrown us a curveball. As community discussion has been quick to point out, these major ETF issuers have been pouring billions into bitcoin, buying at astounding rates and amassing some of the world’s largest Bitcoin supplies practically overnight. If they collectively purchase more than even the worldwide community, how will they react when the spigot of new coins shuts to a trickle?

In other words, we are headed into a situation where demand is at an all-time high and there is insufficient supply to meet it. Business Insider called the upcoming halving a “momentous event”, considering that the ETF had made “permanent changes to Bitcoin’s underlying infrastructure.” Coinshares echoed these sentiments with the warning of a positive demand shock, as Head of Research James Butterfill claimed that “The launch of multiple spot bitcoin ETFs on January 11 has led to an average daily demand of 4500 bitcoins (trading days only), while only an average of 921 new bitcoin were minted per day.” And that’s only considering the pre-halving mining rates. The ETF issuers are already relying on secondhand Bitcoin sales to fill up their coffers, and this trend seems certain to increase in the immediate future.

Isn’t this a good thing, though? Positive demand shocks, as a rule, are generally associated with jumps in price. Additionally, even though shocks like this in critical commodities like oil can lead to inflation, Bitcoin is not yet an essential component of the entire world economy. It’s unlikely that the same drawbacks will apply just yet. In other words, the answer is generally yes, but the situation can still cause alarming trends. For example, the night of March 18 saw a truly bewildering development: coasting at highs around $70k, Bitcoin’s value on BitMEX crashed below $9k in the blink of an eye. The price recovered quickly and was, in any event, isolated to this one exchange, but it’s still an unprecedented development.

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BitMEX announced that the culprit of this negative price spike was a series of large sell orders in the middle of the night, and that they were investigating the activity. Several anonymous whales in particular have emerged as the likely candidates for these sales. We still have no idea who exactly they are or who was buying bitcoins at such a prodigious rate, but it’s only an example of how major selloffs can torpedo market confidence. In any event, this one episode is only a particularly sharp example of a general trend; “constant” spot selling as Bitcoin’s price receives a bloody nose. The market hit lows of $62k Tuesday afternoon, while it was nearly at $72k on the morning of the previous Friday.

Traders have nevertheless remained totally optimistic that these price dips are nothing more than the “bear trap” associated with the pre-halving environment, and they aren’t the only ones. Prominent executives including Binance CEO Richard Teng and Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek have endorsed the viewpoint that these kinds of price dips are a perfectly natural and temporary component of a scheduled halving. There is a clearly observable trend of substantial price dips, from 20-40%, in the weeks immediately prior to the most recent halvings. And yet, the price bounced back quickly and completely, and went on to new all-time heights.

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In other words, some of the recent and sudden price dives are fully explainable using data from Bitcoin’s history. The relevant questions for us, then, are whether Bitcoin’s future will follow the same line. The fact of the matter is that all the available signs point to an optimistic long-term forecast. A positive demand shock caused by ETF acquisitions and the halving may very well make it more difficult for an average consumer to buy bitcoin, but how will that difficulty manifest? Higher prices. Besides, a selling point of the ETF is that plenty of average consumers will use it to seek exposure to bitcoin’s profits, rather than direct custody. This alone will encourage ETF issuers to keep their buying pressure high. It’s impossible to say how long this market situation will continue or what it will mean for bitcoin’s use as an actual currency, but there’s nothing in the current situation to suggest that bitcoin won’t keep growing.

Is it any wonder, then, that the community is gearing up to welcome the halving with such bated breath? Prominent industry figures are taking great care to prepare “The Biggest Celebration in Bitcoin” with live coverage and meetup events in 7 countries (and counting), and the halving isn’t even expected for another month. It’s very possible that 2024 will be remembered as the year that Bitcoin truly became enmeshed in the global financial infrastructure, if stunning regulatory victories in January turn to unprecedented growth by December. Really, the major significant concern is whether or not Bitcoin will see diminished usage as a currency when its worth in fiat is so valuable. Nevertheless, the signs from right now seem quite clear: Bitcoin is set to blaze a trail into the future.



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