A Message from the Editors on the Halving Concern

Starting with a reward of 50, then reducing to 25, followed by 12.5, then 6.25, and now 3.125, after four halvings, we are now entering the fifth of 33 epochs of Bitcoin. Each epoch lasts 210,000 blocks, except for the final 33rd epoch which lasts until the end of the universe. With an average block time of 10 minutes, Bitcoin halves its supply issuance roughly every four years. The specific numbers downstream of this mechanism, defining Bitcoin’s scarcity in an almost infinite universe, are ultimately inconsequential. If Satoshi had started with a 100 bitcoin block reward, we would likely be in a similar position today. However, starting at 50 has statistical conveniences, such as half of all bitcoins ever to be issued being in the first epoch, followed by 25% in the second, and so on.

The fourth epoch concludes in April 2024 after the fourth halving at block 840,000. Significant events occurred during this time, such as El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, Wall Street’s ETF involvement, the Taproot softfork, and the rise of Ordinals. Each halving prompts discussions on cycle theory and whether supply issuance can be predicted. It’s a time for introspection for Bitcoin enthusiasts and the culture surrounding it. Bitcoin is no longer just a counter-culture but has gained mainstream adoption from nations and financial institutions. It’s no longer a singular culture either, as diverse groups like Salvadorans, Wall Street investors, NFT collectors, and ESG advocates are all part of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Welcome to the Fifth Epoch. – The Editors

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