Some Miners Face an Uncertain Future Despite Rising Bitcoin Price

May 14, 2020   Bitcoin

Despite a post-halving rise in bitcoin’s price Wednesday, the current value may not be enough to keep less-efficient miners operating, and that could shift market dynamics.

At press time, bitcoin (BTC) was trading up 2.3% over 24 hours at $9,106. The world’s first cryptocurrency is trading above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, which is a bullish technical indicator, and has been on a steady uptrend since early trading May 13, 00:00 UTC.

The long-anticipated halving was, “a little uneventful,” said Jack Tan, founding partner at Taiwan-based crypto trading firm Kronos Research. But there has been one bright spot for traders: Bitcoin prices have been going up slowly but surely.

But market uncertainty lingers when it comes to cryptocurrency miners. The reward for miners to generate new bitcoin was cut because of the halving to 6.25 BTC, so the business of running machines to secure the network is much less profitable: “I think some of the miners might be in trouble. They just took a 50% pay cut overnight, with prices remaining where they are,” added Tan.

One mining metric that immediately changed after the halving was miner revenue from fees, which jumped from 4.6% right before the halving to 7% Wednesday, according to data provider Glassnode.

Miners bowing out of the business may change the dynamics of the crypto market, said Alexander Blum, of Two Prime, a crypto asset management firm. “The difference is that miners’ new net tokens are now not necessarily the primary driving force of sell pressure into the markets,” he said. “That mantle is likely to be taken on by exchanges that make trading fees and have to sell into the market to cover their business expenses.”

Steady exchange volumes are indicative of the market’s health and whether bitcoin can continue to appreciate post-halving, said David Lifchitz, chief investment officer at quantitative crypto trading firm ExoAlpha.

Bitcoin is trouncing the S&P 500 Wednesday, with the index of large-cap stocks down 1.75%. The cryptocurrency is also doing better than gold, which is up less than 1%. For the year to date, bitcoin is up 27%, gold is in the green 13% while the S&P 500 is down 12%.

Digital assets on CoinDesk’s big board are flashing green on Wednesday. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), gained 5.4% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). Other cryptocurrency winners include lisk (LSK) up 7.5%, monero (XMR) climbing 6.7% and iota (IOTA) up by 3%. All price changes were as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET) Wednesday.

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