Interest in the forthcoming “halving” event on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain has surged to levels higher than ever seen before.

Data from Google Trends as of April 14 indicates that this year’s peak of interest in the event is 16% higher than back in 2016, the last time that halving occurred on the network.

Worldwide Google search data for “Bitcoin halving” since April 2015. Source: Google Trends

Breaking down the data geographically — this time focusing on the past 30 days — the top five countries showing the most interest are Luxembourg, Latvia, Estonia, Switzerland and Lithuania.

A related and more narrow search term, “Bitcoin halving 2020,” reveals a very different geographical distribution —  with Nigeria topping the chart, followed by Venezuela, Austria, Portugal and Czechia.

Who cares and why?

Halving — or the periodic, pre-coded 50% reduction of the rewards for mining each block on the blockchain of a given cryptocurrency — is an event that is closely watched by the crypto community for its impact on both the currency’s price and on miners. 

The 2020 halving will be the third of its kind and will reduce the Bitcoin issuance rate to 6.5 BTC for every 10 minutes of mining.

Well ahead of the event, the co-founder of DeFi Toronto, Victor Li, last year observed that the May 2020 Bitcoin halving would ostensibly bring Bitcoin’s inflation rate down to 1.8% — “similar to that of gold (i.e., new gold mined-to-inventory ratio),” he claimed.

By winter 2019, Google Trends data had already indicated that worldwide searches for Bitcoin halving had significantly increased over the course of the year. 

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic gripping attention worldwide, halving commands interest in the industry due to its potentially bullish impact on price. This, some claim, is due to fewer “new” Bitcoin being minted, thereby reducing the rate of supply.

This is accompanied by nerves over possible “miner capitulation,” as smaller actors in the business feel the squeeze of reduced rewards — although many underscore that this evidently depends on the coin’s post-halving performance on spot markets.