The Bitcoin Clock Sculpture At The North American Bitcoin Conference

By January 21, 2020Bitcoin Business
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At the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, one of the most remarkable things was a sculpture that looked like the Bitcoin (BTC) equivalent of a Mayan calendar. It was built by a crypto enthusiast who goes by the codename Fractal Encrypt, and is essentially a Bitcoin (BTC) clock, showing how Bitcoin’s (BTC) block and supply schedule will function from 2009 through 2140, i.e. from the Genesis Block to when Bitcoin’s (BTC) mining distribution ends.

The outermost ring of the ‘Bitcoin clock’ has the data that would appear when running a node at the time of block 600,000, which was precisely when the 18 millionth Bitcoin (BTC) was mined. When this event occurred it was considered significant in the crypto space, since it meant only 3 million Bitcoins (BTC) would be created for the rest of history.

The next ring towards the center is the year, spanning from 2009 which is the first year that Bitcoin (BTC) existed, to 2140 when Bitcoin’s (BTC) distribution via mining will be finished. Notably, mining will continue after 2140 as long as Bitcoin (BTC) has value since miners will continue to earn transaction fees.

The next ring shows the progression of Bitcoin (BTC) mined during block reward eras relative to the total amount of Bitcoin (BTC) that will ever be mined, with a larger open space being equivalent to a larger fraction of the total Bitcoin (BTC) supply being mined during that block reward era.

This shows that a large fraction of Bitcoins (BTC) was mined during the first block reward era between 2009-2012, with over half of all Bitcoins (BTC) being mined across the 2009-2012 and 2012-2016 block reward eras. It also shows that after the 2020s minute fractions of the Bitcoin (BTC) supply will be mined during each block reward era.

Also, this puts into perspective how little Bitcoin (BTC) will be mined during the 2020-2024 block reward era as compared to the first decade of Bitcoin’s (BTC) existence.

The next ring towards the center includes Merkle trees, which are a fundamental building block of Bitcoin’s (BTC) technology, as well as important Bitcoin (BTC) related phrases encrypted in binary, and 13 types of 3-dimensional objects, which is not Bitcoin (BTC) related but has a lot to do with mathematics.

The next ring shows the block height at the end of each year and can be referenced to the years on the outer ring. For example, at the end of 2019, according to the clock, the block height would be 577,500, and at the end of 2020, the height would be 630,000.

In an ideal world this would be accurate, but in reality Bitcoin (BTC) blocks have come in faster than the equations projected due to the acceleration in the Bitcoin (BTC) mining hash rate. Essentially, the Bitcoin (BTC) mining difficulty, which controls block time, only adjusts once every two weeks. Therefore, in the presence of a persistently accelerating hash rate, Bitcoin (BTC) blocks are typically coming in faster than the theoretical average of 10 minutes. Indeed, Bitcoin (BTC) was already past block 610,000 when 2019 ended.

Inward of the year-end block height ring is the block reward during each reward era. Of course, this is only approximate since the block halving does not exactly occur on New Years Day, but it is useful for showing that the block reward is about to drop from 12.5 Bitcoins (BTC) to 6.25 Bitcoins (BTC) this year, and by 2032 it will drop below 1 Bitcoin (BTC). Also, there are messages engraved into this ring, including “sovereignty through mathematics” and the message from the Genesis Block which alludes to the 2008 Great Recession.

Inwards of this is the rate of Bitcoin (BTC) produced per year and per day during each block reward era.

The next ring inward shows the amount of Bitcoins (BTC) that will exist at the end of each block reward era. For example, when the halvening comes this year there will be 18.375 million Bitcoins (BTC), and by the end of the next block reward era in 2024, there will be 19.6785 million Bitcoins (BTC).

Notably, just inward of this is an entire ring showing data from the first Bitcoin (BTC) transaction, which was 10 Bitcoins (BTC) sent from Satoshi Nakamoto to Hal Finney.

Inward of this is a ring that looks like a ruler with a more precise way to find the block height at the end of each year, and inward of this is all of the equations found in the Bitcoin (BTC) white paper.

In the center of the ‘Bitcoin clock’ is a physical Bitcoin surrounded by 10 lines which show the Poisson distribution of Bitcoin (BTC) block times, which shows how Bitcoin (BTC) block times are not exactly 10 minutes, and in reality, can be significantly shorter or longer. Under that is a diagram that shows the progression of block rewards from double digits to single digits and then below 1 Bitcoin (BTC).

Notably, directly above the physical Bitcoin, just inwards of the ring which shows each year, is Bitcoin’s (BTC) distribution equation which controls block halvings.

Overall this ‘Bitcoin clock’ is an ingenious way of visualizing how Bitcoin’s (BTC) block halving mathematics work. This sculpture was publicly unveiled at an ideal time, with a block halving that will significantly impact the markets and the mining community coming in only a handful of months.

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