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How much was each Bitcoin worth in USD following each halving event since its creation?by@linh
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8,701 reads

How much was each Bitcoin worth in USD following each halving event since its creation?

by Linh Dao SmookeMarch 12th, 2024
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Since its creation in 2009, Bitcoin has undergone 3 halving events (wherein the total supply of bitcoin gets slashed in half), and we are about to witness the 4th one! After April 16, 2024, there will be about 1.3M Bitcoin left to mine.
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Last updated: March 11, 2024

It’s no stranger to the internet that I’m a proponent of Bitcoin (and probably only bitcoin, of all cryptocurrencies). The reasons are rather simple: I like its simplicity, (did you know the Bitcoin white paper was only 2736 words, 9 pages long, with the 9th page being a citation page with 8 citations and only half-filled?), amazing branding (not everyone knows what crypto/web3/decentralization is, but almost everyone asked will have heard of bitcoin), and most of all, for its scarcity. That is, there will only ever be 21 Million Bitcoin tokens. All Bitcoin will exhaust around 2140.

HackerNoon is a small team, and I first learned about Bitcoin via reading this HackerNoon story back in 2017. We didn’t obtain our first bitcoin until mid 2018 (that’s a long story for another day). To say the industry has undergone A LOT since would be a huge understatement. For example, we made a documentary about web 3 called web 2.5 back in Dec 2022. By Jan 2023 some of our predictions already happened, and by Nov 2023 when we released it, most of the things talked about already are taken as facts of life, not some big giant revelation. Remember, hard truths go through 3 phases: 1. being ridiculed 2. being rejected, and then 3. being taken as fact of life. THAT’s how fast the industry is changing. Through thick & thin though, we follow a few principles as a company:

As we approach the 4th “halving event” of Bitcoin in April 2024, I thought it would be a fun exercise to look back at:

  • how much each bitcoin was worth right before the event;
  • how rich (in USD) the solver of each block would be,
  • had they converted their BTC to USD at that time, vs
  • had they they waited (or, HODLed); and
  • how much each $100 dollar investment in Bitcoin would be worth, today.

Obviously, I get that most bitcoin miners don’t just solve things alone, and this typical person who reaps the benefits of all the bitcoin reward is rare. But for the sake of simplicity, I thought it would suffice.

First thing first, a quick recap on halving

Bitcoin halvings are basically Satoshi (Bitcoin creator)’s clever protocol of ensuring Bitcoin is a true scarce resource, and hence, desirable. To all students of basic economics, this makes sense. As long as there is demand, the lower the supply, the higher the price. Of course, one can argue that bitcoin will only achieve true scarcity once it reaches 21 Million tokens in the 22nd century, and no more new Bitcoin is to be created then. But to use another economic analogy, the perception of scarcity might as well lead to scarcity (replace scarcity with inflation, and many other self-fulfilling economic phenomena.)

Every 4 years (approximately how long it takes for 210,000 blocks to be added), the remaining supply of bitcoin gets slashed in half. That is, the reward for mining bitcoin (solving complicated math problems, adding a “block” to the source code of the entire bitcoin network, or “chain”, hence, “blockchain”) gets slashed in half.

These halvings will continue to happen until all 21 Million bitcoin tokens are successfully mined! This will happen circa 2140, long after you and I are dead. lol.

The Birth of Bitcoin: 2009

When Bitcoin was created back in 2009, each block was worth 50 BTC! However, nobody knew what bitcoin was back then, so the USD value obtained by these initial miners (prob just Satoshi himself, plus a few in his network) are basically, zero USD.

A successful miner (solver of 1 block) in 2009 would:

  • Get 50 BTC as a reward
  • Earn zero dollars if they converted them into USD in 2009
  • Sit on ~ $3.6M USD today (March 11, 2024), if they had HODLed

First halving Event: Nov 28, 2012

From 21 Million BTC, on this day in 2012, the total supply got slashed in half for the first time!

Total Bitcoin supply on Nov 28, 2012: 10,500,000

Total Bitcoin left to mine after Nov 28, 2012: 10,500,000

Price of BTC at closing on Nov 28, 2012: $12.20 USD

A successful miner (solver of 1 block) on Nov 28, 2012 would:

  • Get 25 BTC as a reward
  • Earn $305 USD if they converted all 25 BTC into USD in 2012
  • Sit on ~ $1.6M USD today (March 11, 2024), if they had HODLed

An investment of $100 dollars in bitcoin on Nov 28, 2012 would gain you $5.9M USD today, March 11, 2024!

Second Halving Event: July 9, 2016

Total Bitcoin supply on July 9, 2016: 15,750,000

Total Bitcoin left to mine after July 9, 2016: 5,430,000

Price of BTC at closing on July 9, 2016: $640.56 USD

A successful miner (solver of 1 block) on July 9, 2016 would:

  • Get 12.5 BTC as a reward
  • Earn $8007 USD if they converted all 12.5 BTC into USD in 2016
  • Sit on ~ $1.6M USD today (March 11, 2024), if they had HODLed

An investment of $100 dollars in bitcoin on July 9, 2016 would gain you $11,240 USD today, March 11, 2024!

Third Halving Event: May 11, 2020

Total Bitcoin supply on May 11, 2020: 18,375,000

Total Bitcoin left to mine after May 11, 2020: 2,625,000

Price of BTC at closing on July 9, 2016: $8,605.03 USD

A successful miner (solver of 1 block) on May 11, 2020 would:

  • Get 6.25 BTC as a reward
  • Earn $8007 USD if they converted all 6.25 BTC into USD in 2020. Bitcoin price on halving day was around $53,781 USD.
  • Sit on ~ $800,000 USD today (March 11, 2024), if they had HODLed

An investment of $100 dollars in bitcoin on May 11, 2020 would gain you ~$836 USD today, March 11, 2024!

Fourth Halving Event: April 16, 2024 (Watch this space, I’ll update it!)

Total Bitcoin supply on April 16, 2024: 19,687,500

Total Bitcoin left to mine after April 16, 2024: 1,312,500

Price of BTC at closing on April 16, 2024: TBD. My prediction is it will likely be around $80k USD!

A success miner (solver of 1 block) on April 16, 2024 would:

  • Get 3.125 BTC as a reward
  • Earn/sit on TBD if they converted all 3.125 BTC into USD in 2024. Bitcoin price on halving day is TBD

This is not investment advice, it should be obvious. Again, we are not a investment company, and I am not an investor.

But hey, if you do the math, one can see how genius the Bitcoin whitepaper & protocol is in creating demand, especially right after each halving! Let’s see what happens in the next 4 years. And come back after April 16, 2024 for more updated numbers :)