Vertcoin (VTC) is growing quickly in popularity within the crypto-community, largely due to its ASIC resistance, talented development team and (relative) value. The significance of ASIC resistance was well-described by Vertcoin developer Bryan Goodson:
While ASICs can more efficiently mine coins like Bitcoin and Litecoin compared to GPUs, their introduction unfortunately created a new problem. Unlike GPUs or CPUs, the every day person does not and will never own an ASIC. In fact, most Bitcoin and Litecoin mining isn’t done by it’s users at all. The majority of these machines are owned and operated by large mining companies and ASIC manufacturers, this is a problem. This creates an environment where the companies ultimately control the ASIC coins and have a vested interest to pursue profit over progress. We all witnessed the politics behind Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Segwit2x. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen drama like this, and it won’t be that last. Vertcoin foresaw the issues ASICs would bring in to this space and is committed to remaining ASIC resistant
Clearly, Vertcoin solves a lot of issues for the amateur cryptocurrency mining community and continues to be a profitable coin to mine. However, in mid-December 2017, they will halve the mining block rewards, which will have implications for both miners and non-mining investors alike.
MINING BLOCK REWARD HALVING
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Vertcoin have a limited supply that is released via mining over a period of time in the form of blocks. To control this release, these blocks undergo a reduction in size as a function of block discovery, with halving occurring at pre-determined points. Ultimately, this results in a reduction in the created supply.
Currently, each time a Vertcoin block is found, 50 VTCs are released to the global mining community. A block is mined every 2.5 minutes. With the upcoming halving, 50 will be reduced to 25 VTC per block. This means the rewarded VTC for miners would also be halved, but the prevailing thought is that a price increase will more than makeup for this halving.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of technical chart analyses in the crypto space, as volatility and events ultimately rule the day. Instead, I want to look to analogous block reward events in the past that might inform to upcoming price direction.
Bitcoin’s First Halving (November 2012): At halving, the price for a bitcoin was approximately $12.25, which meant that miners received approximately $612.50 per sealed block. By February 2013, the price had actually increased to approximately $30. Miners had lost half of their bitcoin subsidy, but the price had increased enough to more than offset this. By April 2013, the price had increased to approximately $181.
Bitcoin’s Second Halving (July 2016): In the hour before the first “12.5 Bitcoin block” was mined, Bitcoin’s exchange rate dropped more than $30, almost 5 percent, from about $660 to $630. It stabilized to around $650 at time of the halving itself. Hashrate barely changed at all (people were predicting it to fall as much as 50%).
Litecoin’s First Halving: No immediate major change in price or hashrate
The halving happened, and the price stayed the same. The hashrate dropped a little but then climbed back up pretty quickly to the previous level. That’s really unexpected, but I think I have an explanation. I talked to some Chineses miners at Scaling Bitcoin and learned something interesting. Most miners have found electricity for free or close to 0 cost. Chinese hydro power plants are sometimes generating too much electricity. That electricity goes to waste if it’s unused. So these plants have either sold the electricity for near 0-cost or they have partnered with miners to give them free electricity for a revenue share.
So, given that Vertcoin is truly ASIC-resistant, the hypothesis made by Charlie Lee on why Litecoin didn’t have any real fluctuations in price or hash rate does not necessarily apply as Vertcoin mining is far more community driven. In fact, it promotes the idea that Vertcoin might be more susceptible to price and hashrate fluctuations as a result of the halving. Of course, for price, larger market conditions are also at play.
With that being said, Vertcoin has already seen a 4x increase in price since September 2017 (also due in large part to the first Vertcoin/Litecoin atomic swap), so we could be looking at a “sell the news” type of event. While I do not believe in tracking daily, weekly, or even monthly price fluctuations for coins with real value, I’m leaning towards the idea that the impact of the block halving is already priced into the current valuation.
What this could mean for Vertcoin mining is a temporary drop-off in profitability that would likely result in miners flocking to a different coin (best coins to mine for your hardware can be found here). Ultimately, this will result in a reduction in the global hashrate, eventually making mining more profitable for those who continue to focus on Vertcoin as they compete with less for a share of the block reward. From there, another equilibrium of hashrate/rewards would be found. This is based on the Nash Equilibrium.
It is clear, however, that many in the community are anticipating the upcoming halving to be a “to the moon” event (I genuinely enjoy these type of tweets, the community is lively):
— Eric (@etang600) November 13, 2017
Either way, I look forward to new and exciting features coming from this development team and community.
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Disclaimer: The author of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.