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Bitcoin is Near All-Time Highs and the Mainstream Doesn’t Care…Yet



Bitcoin Google Trends Mainstream

Bitcoin Near All-Time Highs vs. Search Interest

Just about every financial asset saw a huge drop in March, but few have had the spectacular recovery that bitcoin has had since then.

Up more than 300% from the March lows, bitcoin is within $1,000 of its all-time high ($19,891) established three years ago. While 2017’s run-up saw a huge surge in Google searches, interest this time around is less than a quarter of what it was back then.

This graphic overlays bitcoin’s price changes against Google search interest for “bitcoin” between 2017-Nov 2020, showing the muted relative search interest for its recent rally. Despite Google search interest being low, it is turning upwards, potentially hinting at a rise to cap off 2020.

Nobody’s Searching? Maybe Bitcoin is Already Mainstream

Bitcoin’s mainstream attention in 2017 was exceptional, and was likely the first time many people had even heard about the digital asset.

After doing all of their Google research back then, it’s possible that the general population is now well aware of the cryptocurrency and doesn’t need to search up the basics again. Add to this that bitcoin is now easily purchasable through popular services like Robinhood and Paypal, and you have fewer people who need Google to figure out the intricacies of bitcoin wallets and transactions.

While people might not be searching for information on bitcoin, the media has certainly picked up on its movement over the past year. Mainstream coverage regarding the cryptocurrency is currently at a relative all-time high for the past 12 months.

Mainstream Media Mentions of Bitcoin

Even if current mainstream coverage isn’t far from previous peaks, it’s still likely that people are seeing an increase in bitcoin content in their news feeds following the recent surge.

This rally is also attracting increased talk on social media sites like Twitter. That said, while there has been a rise in the volume of bitcoin-related tweets in November 2020, numbers are still quite low compared to the amount of tweets in 2017.

Tweets mentioning Bitcoin

Daily tweet volume reached above 60,000 recently, but is still far from the +100,000 daily tweets that were being sent at the top of 2017’s bull run.

Where in the World is Google Search Interest for Bitcoin?

Even if worldwide search interest isn’t as high as it was in 2017, there is one country where bitcoin is being googled more now: Nigeria.

Since 2015, the Nigerian Naira has lost more than 50% of its value against the U.S. dollar. This, coupled with the country’s high share of unbanked citizens means that alternative currencies and payment methods have steadily risen in popularity and utility.

Nigeria Bitcoin Google Search Trends

FinTech startups like Chipper Cash are providing Nigeria and other African nations with no-fee P2P payment services, along with the ability to trade bitcoin. The service is also beta testing the buying and selling of fractional shares of popular U.S. stocks.

Started up in 2018, Chipper Cash’s monthly payment values are now over $100 million, and the company has attracted investment from top VC funds like Bezos Expeditions as they provide a valuable service in an emerging market.

If Bitcoin is Mainstream, Where Does It Go From Here?

While bitcoin is proving itself to be a useful medium of exchange around the world, it’s still primarily a speculative asset. As 2020 saw massive increases in money supply across the board, bitcoin reacted best compared to other speculative assets, with its ascent to $19,000 almost completely uninterrupted since the $10,000 price area.

Time will tell if 2017 is set to repeat itself, or if bitcoin is getting ready to set new all-time highs going into 2021.

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The 4th Bitcoin Halving Explained

We take a deep dive on historical Bitcoin data from Coinmetrics to see what lessons the 3 previous halvings might have for the future.



Area graph showing the historical price of Bitcoin in USD with a look ahead to the upcoming 4th halving.



The following content is sponsored by HIVE Digital

The 4th Bitcoin Halving Explained

Sometime in April 2024, the reward that cryptocurrency miners receive for mining bitcoin (BTC) will go from ₿6.25 to ₿3.125, with significant consequences for the world’s most valuable digital currency.

To help understand this quadrennial event, we’ve teamed up with HIVE Digital to take a deep dive on historical bitcoin data from Coinmetrics to see what the three previous halvings might tell us about the fourth.

Bitcoin Explained

But to understand halvings, we first need to take a step back to talk a bit about how the Bitcoin network works.

Unlike fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar or the Chinese yuan that are backed by central banks, cryptocurrencies are supported by an underlying blockchain, which contains a record of every single bitcoin transaction in a public decentralized, distributed ledger. 

When you spend a bitcoin, a digital record of that transaction needs to be validated and added to the blockchain. And this is where miners come in. They legitimize and audit bitcoin transactions, and as a reward, receive bitcoin in payment.

Halvings Explained

Now, quantitative easing notwithstanding, you normally can’t keep printing money forever without running into hyperinflation (think 1920s Germany or 1990s Argentina).

To get around this problem, the Bitcoin network has a pre-programmed upper limit of 21 million, with the reward that miners receive decreasing by half (hence, halving) roughly every four years. 

Line graph of the value of the Bitcoin subsidy against the Bitcoin supply against the 32 pre-programmed halvings showing that as the supply approaches the 21 million limit, the subsidy approaches zero.

When the Bitcoin network first launched, the reward was initially set to ₿50, an amount that was high enough to quickly increase the money supply and incentivize miners to participate in the validation process. On November 28, 2012, that reward decreased by half to ₿25, then to ₿12.5 on July 9, 2016, and on May 11, 2020, to ₿6.25.

The last halving will happen sometime in 2136, with the reward decreasing to ₿0.00000001 or one satoshi, the smallest denomination of bitcoin possible. The last bitcoin will enter circulation four years later, in 2140.

Halvings and Miner Revenue

With the fourth halving just around the corner, some have wondered whether mining will still be sustainable. Modern mining operations today are costly endeavors, often with razor-thin margins, and losing half of one’s revenue overnight would be a nightmare for any business. 

Area graph comparing miner revenue in USD and in Bitcoin, showing that the price of Bitcoin appreciates after each halving.

And if you look at historical miner revenue in bitcoin, you can see quite clearly, the steep drop in revenue after each halving. But what’s interesting, is that if you compare that against the miner revenue in USD, there is a drop there as well, but it recovers soon thereafter as the cryptocurrency appreciates. In other words, a miner may receive less bitcoin, but that bitcoin is worth more.

Halvings Compared

So we know that the network will continue to function after the fourth halving, but what else can we learn from previous halvings? 

If we look at the percent change in market capitalization post-halvings, we can see a bit of a pattern. After both the second and third halvings, market capitalization peaked at around the year-and-half mark. The second-halving peak occurred on day 526 at around $328 billion, an increase of 3,000%, while the third-halving peak came three weeks later on day 547 at over $1.2 trillion, or an increase of just under 700%. 

Line graph comparing the percent change in market capitalization following the second and third halvings, showing that there is a price peak at around 1.5 years post-halving.

The post-first-halving peak happened a bit earlier, at the 372-day mark, but because the peak was so high (over 10,000%!) it is considered an outlier, and omitted to better illustrate the trend.

The 4th Bitcoin Halving Projected?

Because we know that halvings occur every 210,000 blocks and that each block takes around 10 minutes to mine, we have a good idea of when the fourth halving should happen: April 21, 2024. If the next halving follows the same pattern as the previous two, then there could be a market-capitalization peak some time during the third week of October 2025.

And with the price of bitcoin setting new records at time of writing, a lot of people will be watching very closely, indeed.  

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