May 11, 19:23 UTC saw Chinese-based miner Antpool produce block 630,000 on the Bitcoin network, triggering Bitcoin’s third halving that drops block rewards from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC
The 2020 halving, happening in circumstances reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, cuts mining rewards by 50%. The event is coded into the Bitcoin protocol and went from 50 bitcoins in the first four years to 25 units after the 2012 halving. The next halving in 2016 meant miners earned 12.5 bitcoins and now miners, who process transactions and secure the network by dedicating their computing power, will earn a block reward of 6.25 bitcoins.
Bitcoin’s landmark third halving was recorded when Bitcoin mining firm Antpool minted the 630,000th block on May 11, 2020, at 19:23 UTC.
Block 629,999 references iconic Nakamoto message and the 2008 financial crisis
The Coronavirus pandemic, and the massive bailout injections that have governments minting cash “out of thin air,” has the world teetering to a potentially catastrophic economic downturn. And so, in the final block minted before halving, Bitcoin miner f2pool embedded a piece of history recording these unprecedented times.
Block 629,999 was the last block that came with a 12.5 BTC reward for miners. It now holds a message that immortalizes 2020’s financial turmoil as captured in a NY Times headline, much similar to the iconic message bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto embedded in the genesis block mined in 2009.
In the coinbase of that very first block, Nakamoto added this message “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
F2pool, likely drawn to the similarities, or even the probability of things getting worse added “NYTimes 09/Apr/2020 With $2.3T Injection, Fed’s Plan Far Exceeds 2008 Rescue“, to block 629,999’s coinbase transaction text.
The message references a NY Times article that discussed the Federal Reserve’s bailout plan as the Coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy intensified.
A total of 1,800 new bitcoins came into circulation before the 2020 halving. What the 50% cut means then is that for the next four years – until the next halving – only 900 new bitcoins will be mined daily. As such, the revenue miners collected from mining have fallen from around $15 million to about $8 million, if we go by the current rate of $8,600 per unit.
Bitcoin price has remained steady above $8,500 in the hours following the halving, and Bitcoiners are bullish for a near term uptick.
One of the indicators is the hash rate holding, with data showing that the network’s total computing power is near an all-time high. Current figures read 121 exahashes per second, with the 7-day average at 120 exahashes per second.