Halving is a term that refers to a periodic event that reduces the supply of new coins or tokens generated by a blockchain network. The blockchain records and verifies every transaction that occurs on the network, ensuring security and transparency. However, maintaining the blockchain requires a lot of computational power and energy, which is provided by the participants who run special software called mining. Miners compete to solve complex mathematical problems and earn rewards in the form of new crypto coins for each block they add to the blockchain. Halving affects the economics and security of blockchain networks, as well as their price and adoption.
We will use Bitcoin as a reference, as it is the most well-known and widely used cryptocurrency. However, halving is not exclusive to Bitcoin, and other blockchain projects may have similar or different mechanisms to regulate their supply and reward their participants.
What is halving?
Halving is an event that occurs every 210,000 blocks, or roughly every four years, on the Bitcoin network. It reduces the reward for mining new blocks by 50%, making it harder and less profitable for miners to create new bitcoins. The halving process ensures that the total number of bitcoins that will ever exist is limited to 21 million, as designed by the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. The last halving occurred on May 11, 2020, reducing the block reward from 12.5 to 6.25 bitcoins. The next halving is expected to happen in April or May 2024, when the block reward will drop to 3.125 bitcoins
The main purpose of halving is to control the inflation rate of Bitcoin and preserve its value over time. By decreasing the supply of new bitcoins entering the market, halving creates a deflationary pressure that increases the demand and price of Bitcoin. Halving also ensures that Bitcoin remains a scarce and finite resource, unlike fiat currencies that can be printed endlessly by central authorities. Halving also incentivizes miners to secure the network and process transactions, as they rely on transaction fees as well as block rewards for their income.
Halving is necessary for Bitcoin to function as a sound and sustainable form of money that can compete with traditional currencies and payment systems. Halving also ensures that Bitcoin remains decentralized and resistant to manipulation, as no one can alter or inflate the supply of bitcoins without consensus from the network.
The results of halving are often unpredictable and depend on various factors such as market sentiment, mining difficulty, hash rate, and network activity. However, some general trends can be observed from the past halvings. For instance, halving tends to have a positive impact on the price of Bitcoin in the long term, as it creates a supply shock that drives up the demand and value of Bitcoin. Each halving has triggered a new bull market cycle for Bitcoin that lasted for several months or years after the event. However, halving can also have some negative effects on the network security and efficiency in the short term, as it reduces the profitability and incentives for miners to participate in the network. This can lead to a drop in the hash rate and mining difficulty, which can make the network more vulnerable to attacks or congestion.
The Global Blockchain Market
The global blockchain technology market size was valued at $11.14 billion in 2022 & is projected to grow from $5.85 billion in 2021 to $469.49 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 82.8% during the forecast period.
Blockchain Market Ecosystem
The Blockchain technology ecosystem encompasses of three core categories of providers that enable its continued advancement. They are –
These are the visionaries and developers who create blockchain-based applications. They design and build solutions tailored for specific use cases, such as decentralized finance (DeFi), supply chain management, or identity verification.
Application providers leverage the underlying blockchain infrastructure to deliver real-world solutions, often using smart contracts to automate processes.
Infrastructure providers are responsible for maintaining the technical backbone of the blockchain network. They include: Developers, Nodes and Miners/Validators
Infrastructure providers ensure the network’s security, scalability, and reliability.
Middleware bridges the gap between applications and infrastructure. It includes tools, APIs, and protocols that enhance interoperability and communication within the ecosystem.
Middleware providers offer services like data integration, identity management, and communication protocols to facilitate seamless interactions between applications and infrastructure.
The infrastructure and protocol segment is leading the market, dominating for over half of global revenue. There is growing demand for blockchain standards like Hyperledger, open chain, and Ethereum, fueling growth in this space. These protocols allow for secure sharing of information across crypto networks, meeting user needs. As a result, the benefits of infrastructure and protocols contribute significantly to segment expansion.
The middleware segment is projected to experience rapid expansion in the coming years. Middleware assists developers in building applications more efficiently. Rising investment in healthcare is anticipated to spur middleware growth. Middleware tools also track performance metrics during testing, another driver of segment gains.
Blockchain market by Application
The above diagram highlights the areas where blockchain is often used as of the latest trend. Thanks to blockchain’s ability to be used in almost any field, the trend will continue for years to come. By 2023, supply chain management and cross-border payments had emerged as blockchain’s leading application sectors. Major logistics operators such as FedEx and UPS invested strategically to evaluate integration. Using blockchain technology, companies have the ability to monitor products throughout the supply chain process. They can identify potential issues that may occur during transit, such as signs that products have been tampered with, exposure to extreme environmental conditions, or improper handling.
Future prospects in Blockchain
Over the past decade, blockchain has evolved from an intriguing concept to a technology poised to revolutionize numerous industries globally. Areas like cryptocurrency payment systems and decentralized finance have realized significant growth by leveraging blockchain’s ability to facilitate secure value exchange without centralized intermediaries. As more traditional financial institutions explore integrating blockchain into their operations, it may help drive further mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Internationally, blockchain holds promise for transforming trade by streamlining cross-border transactions and tracking the provenance of goods through transparent, shared ledgers. Several pilot projects demonstrate its power to simplify complex supply chains and reduce inefficiencies. Widespread use of blockchain in areas like trade, finance, and value chains will depend on coherent global standards and regulations that address issues like taxation and provide legal framework for new business models to thrive.
While technical and regulatory hurdles remain, the growing number of innovative blockchain applications indicates its technology is maturing. In the coming years, as protocols advance and governance models evolve with stakeholder input, blockchain may emerge as the foundation for a more decentralized, transparent global economy. Its impact will likely expand exponentially if barriers to adoption are reduced through collaborative regulation by nations. There is still work to be done, but the future looks bright for realizing blockchain’s transformational potential.