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Animation: Visualizing the ICO Explosion

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Animation: Visualizing the ICO Explosion

In our chart highlighting Bitcoin’s epic journey to $10,000, we also noted that 2017 was a landmark year for the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a method used to raise initial funds for development and marketing of new cryptocurrencies or tokens.

ICOs have become so popular that well over 90% of total funds raised through this mechanism came from this year alone.

While it’s hard to put this sudden ICO explosion in context, we think today’s animation does the phenomenon sufficient justice. Coming from Max Galka at Elementus.io, today’s animation shows a timeline of ICOs and funds raised since early 2014.

In an added dimension, each ICO is also classified based on geographic region. The colorful fireworks that happen throughout 2017 help to make it clear that we are indeed living in the year of the ICO.

Year of the ICO

Despite bans in China and South Korea, there is no shortage of fervor for new cryptocurrencies or tokens.

ICOs by month

In their short history, there have been three ICOs that raised over $200 million – and six more that surpassed the $100 million mark.

Here is a breakdown of the nine biggest ICOs so far. Note that eight of them took place in 2017:

NameLocationICO ProceedsICO Year
FilecoinNorth America$257 million2017
TezosEurope$236 million2017
EOSNorth America$200 million2017
ParagonNorth America$183 million2017
The DAOStateless/Unknown$168 million2016
BancorMiddle East$153 million2017
PolkadotEurope$121 million2017
QASHAsia$112 million2017
StatusEurope$109 million2017

It’s worth mentioning that with the price for bitcoins and ether both rising fast, that these ICOs have actually raised even more capital than initially shown. That’s because the dollar amounts above are based on the value of bitcoins and ether at the time of the raise.

With billions in capital going into new projects, investors and speculators are anxiously waiting to see which coin or token will be the next Ethereum to take the market by storm.

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Bitcoin

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.

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

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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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