Block reward refers to the incentive or reward given to miners for successfully mining a new block in a blockchain network.
Block Reward is one of the primary mechanisms by which new cryptocurrency tokens are introduced into circulation.
In the context of Bitcoin, the block reward is the amount of newly minted Bitcoins that miners receive when they successfully add a new block to the Bitcoin blockchain. Initially, when Bitcoin was first introduced, the block reward was set at 50 Bitcoins per block. However, as per the design of the Bitcoin protocol, the block reward undergoes a process called “halving” approximately every four years.
Bitcoin Halving: The halving event is programmed to occur every 210,000 blocks, which roughly translates to four years, until the maximum supply of 21 million Bitcoins is reached. During a halving event, the block reward is reduced by half. So, after the first halving in 2012, the block reward decreased from 50 Bitcoins to 25 Bitcoins. Subsequent halvings occurred in 2016 (reducing the reward to 12.5 Bitcoins) and 2020 (reducing it to 6.25 Bitcoins). This halving process continues until the block reward becomes negligible and reaches zero, which is expected to happen around the year 2140.
The purpose of halving the block reward is to control the inflation rate of the cryptocurrency and ensure a controlled and predictable supply of new coins. As the block reward decreases over time, miners are incentivized to rely more on transaction fees, which are included in each block, as a source of income.
It’s worth noting that block rewards and their halving schedules can vary across different blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies. Each network may have its own unique design and rules regarding the issuance of new tokens to miners and the rate at which the rewards decrease.
Block rewards play a vital role in incentivizing miners to participate in securing the blockchain network and validating transactions. They provide compensation for the computational resources, electricity, and time invested in the mining process.