Bitcoin prices spike as halving approaches

Bitcoin prices spike as halving approaches

Local exchange reports highest volume since 2017, 66% price jump in last month

(Reuters photo)
(Reuters photo)

Demand for bitcoin has surged again as the halving countdown of the virtual currency will occur in a few days, with millions of baht being traded daily on a local digital asset exchange.

Bitcoin halving occurs once every four years, and the latest halving will take place on Tuesday morning local time. Halving is when cryptocurrency-mining companies and individuals find out the reduced payment that they will receive in return for their contribution to the system's smooth operation.

By design, the number of bitcoins in existence is capped at 21 million.

The first halving began at a value of US$2.01 per bitcoin in 2012, with the reward reduced to 25 bitcoins per block. The second halving began in 2016 when bitcoin was valued at $664.44, with the block reward halved to 12.5 bitcoins.

Bitcoin trading reached a fever pitch in 2017 as surging demand pushed the price to an all-time high of $19,511.

In the latest halving this coming week, the total number of bitcoins mined per block will be reduced from 12.5 to 6.25.

Jirayut Srupsrisopa, co-founder and group chief executive at Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, said the price of bitcoin has risen from around $6,000 in early April to nearly $10,000, in sharp contrast to prices of other physical financial assets during the current global virus pandemic.

"Thai people are trading at Bitkub at an all-time high again, which is very similar to 2017. There is more than 600 million baht worth of bitcoin traded per day," said Mr Jirayut.

When the last halving took place four years ago, the local price went up to 600,000 baht.

Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a person or group writing under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto as a peer-to-peer decentralised electronic cash system.

In Thailand, the digital asset royal decree took effect on May 14, 2018. It lists four types of secondary business intermediaries: digital exchanges, brokerage firms, dealers and token portal service providers, also known as initial coin offering (ICO) portals.

The decree covers cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and any other electronic data unit, as specified by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Exchanges, brokers and dealers are required to apply for licences from the Finance Ministry, while ICO portals must be approved by the SEC.


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