Bitcoin halving dates


What have been the dates of the previous Bitcoin halving and when exactly is the next one expected to happen?

Nobody really knows, but it is possible to calculate an estimate of when it might happen.

The only sure thing is that will occur in block 840,000but nobody knows precisely when this block will be mined.

What the Bitcoin Protocol Dictates and Why Halving Dates Matter

No date is specified in the Bitcoin protocol.

Protocol dictates only two things. The first is that difficulty is changed every 2,016 mined blocks so that the blocking time is kept as close to 10 minutes as possible. The second is that there is a halving every 210,000 blocks.

Considering that mining one block takes about 10 minutes on average, mining 2,016 blocks takes about two weeks, while mining 210,000 blocks takes just under 4 years.

the real times

However, the actual timelines are a bit different, because Bitcoin’s hashrate grows faster than the difficulty setting achieves to keep the block time close to 10 minutes.

Put another way, the average block time (that is, the time that passes on average between the fetching of one block and the fetching of the next) is usually be less than 10 minutes .

For example, in 2022, instead of the classic 144 blocks per day, an average of about 156 blocks were mined per day, with an average block time of just over 9 minutes.

This makes the real times lower than the theoretical ones.

In fact, so far, on average, it has only taken three years and just under ten months to reach a new Halving.

The Dates of Bitcoin’s Past Halvings

In theory, a halving should occur every 1458 days, or every three years and 362 days.

However, if we take the dates of the last three halvings, we find that there have always been less than 1458 days between one halving and the next.

The first block of the Bitcoin blockchain was mined on January 3, 2009.while the first halving occurred on November 28, 2012 at block 210,000. In total, only 1,425 days had passed, or less than three years and 11 months.

The second halving occurred on July 9, 2016 at block 420,000, which is actually only 1,319 days after the first halving. So the period had been shortened to just over three and a half years.

The third and final halving occurred on May 11, 2020 in block 630,000. Since the previous one, 1,402 days had passed, or just over three years and ten months.

On average, therefore, a halving has occurred every 1,382 days to date, or just under three years and ten months.

Estimating the date of the next halving

In the event that the next halving occurs 1,382 days after May 11, 2020, it would occur on February 22, 2024, but in reality the block time in recent years has increased slightly.

In fact, at the theoretical rate of 10 minutes per block it is estimated that the date of the next Bitcoin halving could be on May 1, 2024. If that were the case, it would have been 1,451 days since the previous halving, which is the longest period in history, not far from the theoretical 1,458 days.

However, as we have seen, in reality the actual average block time is less than 10 minutes, so this estimate could be too close.

Assuming the actual block time over the next two years remains similar to 2022 (around 9.2 minutes), it would take only 509 days from today before the 840,000 block times would be undermined triggering the fourth halving. . Therefore, a date close to March 17, 2024 could be estimated.

Therefore, three different estimates can be made.

The first, more conservative, is that the next halving could occur on May 1, 2024 in case the average block time from now on equals the theoretical block time of 10 minutes.

The second, more optimistic, is that it will occur 1,382 days after the previous one, that is, on February 22 of the same year.

The third, more realistic one, is that it will happen in 509 days, at the current rate of around one block mined every 9.2 minutes, or around mid-March also in 2024.

Past estimates and dates of Bitcoin halvings

It’s worth noting that these estimates were also made in the past for the previous three halvings, and in no case were they accurate. Obviously, the closer we get to the block that triggers the halving, the more accurate the estimates become, but almost two years later, the current estimates are highly unlikely to be accurate.

For example, the first estimate predicted that the first halving should occur in January 2013, or at the latest in December 2012, and instead it occurred in late November 2012.

The second actually predicted the halving in November or October 2016, or at the latest in September of the same year. Instead, it took place in July, several months ahead of schedule.

The third estimate, on the other hand, was more accurate, because using data from the previous two halving events, the third was expected to occur in April 2020, and instead it happened in the first half of May.

mining speed

A very curious thing is the comparison between the average block time in 2022 and 2021.

This is because during bull runs, miners earn more money, so they can invest more to increase their hash rate. This should result in a speeding up of the rate at which blocks are mined and therefore a reduction in block time.

In fact, in 2021, the average block time was 9.9 minutes, less than the theoretical 10 minutes.

However, in 2022, at the height of the bear market, the hashrate rose again to new all-time highs, pushing the average block time to 9.2 minutes.

The reason is that the growth of the hashrate is very slow, so it follows the growth of the bitcoin price several months apart. In other words, the incredible hashrate growth during the bear market is a very late consequence of the 2021 bull run.

A realistic estimate

Based on this, it is possible to assume that during 2023 and 2024 the block time may increase and return closer to the theoretical 10 minutes. Therefore, a more realistic estimate of the date of the next Bitcoin halving is between mid-March and early May 2024, or around the first 10 days of April.

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