28th November 2012 was a slow news day. There was a lunar eclipse -- the second that year -- and it was the first day since 1990 that the NYPD reported that no one was shot, stabbed or slashed in New York. There wasn’t much to report. And while journalists around the World searched for a scoop one small story went uncovered – the reward for mining a block on the bitcoin blockchain just halved. Commencing in January 9th 2009 when the Bitcoin blockchain initiated, each and every one of the 209,999 blocks mined, created at a rate of approximately one every ten minutes, in an uninterrupted 24/7/365 operation, had attracted a new, autonomous creation by the network itself of 50 new, never before seen, bitcoin. A lot had changed since 2009. The first block mined had 1 transaction (the special “coinbase” transaction that captures the reward) and no other activity. By 2012 the network size and activity had grown significantly and there were 543 transactions in the “pre-halving” block. The next block mined, at a height of precisely 210,000 blocks, as codified years earlier by Satoshi Nakamoto, had a 25 bitcoin reward.
Nothing much happened. However, a few months later the value of a bitcoin had increased dramatically. Prices had been steadily increasing as the halving approached, they ended 2011 at $7, and rose to $11 by September, 2012. The high tick by April 2013 was $259.