Glassnode Spotlights: Bitcoin Halving and Its Implications

In the Glassnode Spotlight series, we explore the most interesting and actionable insights from the Coinbase x Glassnode Q2 Guide to Crypto Markets. The first part is focused on the 4th Bitcoin halving and its impacts.

Glassnode Spotlights: Bitcoin Halving and Its Implications

In this first article from our series on the Coinbase x Glassnode Q2 report, we explore the metrics and data shedding light on the strategic implications of the upcoming Bitcoin halving. Scheduled for 19 April 2024, this preprogrammed event will reduce the block rewards from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC, fundamentally impacting Bitcoin's inflation rate and, potentially, also its availability on the market.

The Bitcoin halving occurs every four years and is a critical mechanism which controls Bitcoin’s scarcity and ensures its status as a disinflationary asset. As we approach this event, traders and investors, especially those employing momentum or long-only trading strategies, will find it helpful to its historical price impacts and place this data in the context of the current market dynamics. Understanding these elements will be key to navigating the post-halving market landscape effectively, especially when timing potential entry and exit points.

Historical Impact on Bitcoin's Price

As covered in detail on pages 17 and 18 of the Q2 Guide to Crypto Markets, past Bitcoin halvings have consistently led to substantial price increases in the subsequent 12 months, a trend that is crucial for investors to consider. Specifically:

  • After the first halving, Bitcoin's price surged by over 1000%.
  • The second halving saw a 200% increase.
  • Following the third halving, the price ascended by more than 600%.

These significant upswings highlight the event's potential to drastically affect supply-demand dynamics and consequently, market pricing. As we approach the fourth halving, these historical patterns offer valuable insights for forecasting potential market movements and preparing investment strategies accordingly.

View live chart in Glassnode Studio

Changing Dynamics Due to Market Evolution

In comparison to past halvings, the landscape of Bitcoin's market dynamics has matured significantly, potentially reducing the direct impact of new Bitcoin issuance on market prices. This change is primarily driven by increasing institutional demand and the widespread adoption of Bitcoin ETFs. Key differences, which are explored on pages 15 and 16 of the Q2 Guide, include:

  • Daily miner Bitcoin issuance now competes with substantial absorption by Bitcoin ETFs. For instance, while miners add approximately 900 BTC to the market daily, Bitcoin ETFs frequently purchase far more, significantly influencing supply levels and market liquidity.
BTC Issuance vs ETF Demand
  • Additionally, ETFs may impact market volatility by generating large-scale inflows and outflows. These movements can greatly influence price stability and market sentiment, often independently of traditional supply-demand constraints.

In short, ETF inflows and outflows are already exerting a notable impact on the availability and demand for Bitcoin and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Given these factors, ETFs are key players in the market whose activities could overshadow the historical impact of the halving. For traders, this means ETF trends may provide key data points for making informed decisions in a landscape that may no longer behave predictably post-halving.


With the fourth Bitcoin halving fast approaching, the digital asset market will be impacted by a mixture of established cyclical events and evolving investment behaviours. Historically, halvings have led to major market rallies by cutting the supply of new Bitcoins, thus potentially increasing prices due to higher demand. However, this time, the dynamics are further complicated by heavy institutional involvement through ETFs and notable shifts in the activities of long-term investors and 'smart money' entities.

These factors collectively suggest a more nuanced market response to the upcoming halving:

  • ETF Activities: It's essential to monitor ETF inflows and outflows carefully. A decrease in ETF purchases could signal an impending market downturn.
  • Market Dynamics: Increased selling by long-term holders might indicate a nearing market peak, impacting overall market stability and price levels.
  • Halving Psychology: Be wary of potential sell-the-news effects surrounding the halving event. Traders should consider strategic adjustments to their positions to navigate expected volatility.

By maintaining a close watch on these key factors, traders can better position themselves to respond to market shifts and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

If you would like to learn more about complex interrelations to better optimize their strategies in light of the upcoming halving, read our dedicated research article.

To get a better understanding of the digital asset market as a whole and learn more about key trends and events such as the halving, ETFs, and derivatives market complexities, download 'Q2 Guide to Crypto Markets' here.