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Bitcoin Halving

Why is it in the news?

  • Crypto traders and Bitcoin miners are preparing for the ‘Bitcoin Halving’—predicted to happen in April.
Bitcoin

·       Bitcoin, created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, is the pioneer of cryptocurrencies.

·       It operates on a decentralized network using blockchain technology, ensuring transparent and secure transactions without the need for intermediaries.

·       The network is open-source, allowing anyone to participate in transactions and mining.

·       Bitcoin leverages its network, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology to transparently record transactions, prevent double spending, and achieve consensus through the “proof-of-work” process.

 

 Understanding Bitcoin Halving

  • The Bitcoin Halving entails a 50% reduction in the reward given to miners for processing cryptocurrency transactions and adding them to the blockchain.
  • Bitcoin miners rely on sophisticated computer equipment to solve complex mathematical puzzles via the “Proof of Work” process to grow the blockchain and maintain the ecosystem’s operation.
  • This intensive computational activity contributes to significant carbon footprints and consumes vast amounts of electricity, leading to environmental concerns.
  • Halving events occur after every 210,000 blocks are mined, with previous instances happening in 2012, 2016, and 2020, approximately every four years.
  • Currently, the reward for miners is set at 6.25 Bitcoin (BTC) per block, which miners claim upon solving the puzzle first.
  • Despite the fixed reward amount, the actual value of the prize fluctuates based on BTC prices in the market and the timing of the owner’s decision to sell.

 Impact of Bitcoin Halving

  • Bitcoin mining increases the supply of BTC in circulation, but the Bitcoin Halving reduces the rate at which new coins are released, thereby enhancing the asset’s scarcity. Scarcity, a result of halving events, is often associated with upward pressure on prices, akin to the dynamics observed in the gold market.
  • Both corporate and independent Bitcoin miners are globally distributed, seeking regions with inexpensive electricity costs, such as Kazakhstan and Iran, to maximize their mining operations.
  • The pursuit of cheap electricity is driven by the desire to maintain profitability amidst the energy-intensive nature of Bitcoin mining, leading miners to explore regions with favourable energy pricing.

Conclusion

  • Each Bitcoin halving event is unique, influenced by a combination of factors including regulatory developments, technological advancements, and market dynamics.
  • While the next halving is anticipated with interest, individuals involved in cryptocurrency investments should conduct thorough research and exercise caution due to the inherent volatility and uncertainty in the market.
Indian Government’s Stance on Cryptocurrency

·       The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advocated for a complete ban on cryptocurrencies, citing potential risks to monetary and fiscal stability.

·       Despite lacking a regulatory framework, the government introduced taxation measures, including a 30% tax on crypto income and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on crypto transactions.

 

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