So far, there have been 3 block reward eras for Bitcoin (BTC). The first era started with the genesis block in early January 2009, and there were 50 Bitcoin per block. The second era began at block 210,000 in late November 2012, and the block reward halved to 25 Bitcoin. The third era, which we are in as of this writing, began at block 420,000 in early July 2016. The block reward is now 12.5 Bitcoin.
When we overlay block reward halving dates on a logarithmic chart of Bitcoin’s price (below), it becomes apparent that there has been one major rally during each block reward era, at least so far. Further, roughly a year before the block halving that begins the era, the major rally of that era begins.
Source: @MoonOverlord on Twitter
As can be seen in the above chart the Bitcoin rally of late 2013 which brought Bitcoin over $ 1,000 for the first time occurred towards the middle of the 2nd era, and the rally to $ 20,000 in late 2017 occurred near the middle of the third era.
The fourth block reward era, when block rewards will be slashed to 6.25 Bitcoin, will start at block 630,000, projected to occur in May 2020. If the trend in the above chart continues, Bitcoin would bottom in late Spring or early Summer 2019 and then rally for one to two years to new all-time highs.
There may be some causation to this correlation. We expect that block halvings would help increase Bitcoin’s price since the rate of creation from mining is slashed. That means the Bitcoin inflation rate is halved. In the presence of increasing demand, the halving of the inflow of new Bitcoin would increase its price.
That said, there are many other factors that influence Bitcoin’s market cycles, making it perhaps overly simplistic to say that Bitcoin’s past two market cycles have been entirely due to the block halving. This correlation could be a coincidence.
It’s worth noting, however, that the rally of late 2013 ended as Mt. Gox collapsed, and the rally of 2017 ended as CME Bitcoin futures were launched and introduced massive short selling pressure.
Nonetheless, traders and investors pricing in the next block halving may apply upward pressure on Bitcoin’s price when May 2020 approaches. It will be interesting to see if history repeats itself and Bitcoin sees new all-time highs during the fourth block reward era.