Bitcoin’s 4 Year Cycles: An Explainer

Bitcoin's 4 Year Cycles - An Explainer

Bitcoin, the world’s first and largest cryptocurrency, has been through numerous ups and downs since its inception in 2009. Throughout its existence, Bitcoin has experienced several bull and bear cycles, with each cycle lasting approximately four years. These cycles have been characterized by significant price swings, as well as shifts in public perception and adoption of the digital currency. As Bitcoin continues to gain mainstream acceptance, many investors and traders are interested in understanding these cycles and how they can inform investment decisions.

In this article, we will explore the concept of Bitcoin’s four-year cycles, examining their historical trends and analyzing the factors that drive them. We will also discuss what to expect in the next cycle and how it may impact the cryptocurrency market. Whether you are a seasoned Bitcoin investor or just beginning to explore the world of digital currencies, this article will provide valuable insights into the past, present, and future of Bitcoin’s market cycles. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of Bitcoin’s four-year cycles.

Bitcoin Four-Year Cycles

Bitcoin is well-known for its market cycles, which typically follow a four-year pattern. These cycles can be seen on a price chart as a series of peaks and valleys, with each peak representing a new all-time high for the cryptocurrency. The four-year cycle is tied to Bitcoin’s halving events, which occur approximately every four years and cut the block reward in half. This means that fewer new Bitcoins are being mined and entering circulation, which can lead to a supply shortage and increased demand for the cryptocurrency.

The first four-year cycle began with the creation of Bitcoin in 2009 and lasted until the first halving event in 2012. During this time, Bitcoin’s price went from essentially zero to around $12. The second cycle began with the 2012 halving and lasted until the second halving in 2016. During this cycle, Bitcoin’s price reached a high of over $1,000. The third cycle began with the 2016 halving and lasted until the most recent halving in 2020. During the last cycle, Bitcoin’s price reached an all-time high of nearly $69,000.

While the four-year cycle is not a hard and fast rule, it does provide a useful framework for understanding Bitcoin’s price movements. It’s important to note that the cycle is not a guarantee of future price movements and that other factors, such as regulatory changes and market sentiment, can also impact Bitcoin’s price. However, understanding the four-year cycle can help investors make informed decisions about when to buy, hold, or sell Bitcoin.

The Stock-To-Flow Model

The stock-to-flow (SF) model is a popular framework for predicting the future price of Bitcoin. It compares the current stock (or supply) of Bitcoin to the flow (or new supply) of Bitcoin being introduced into the market each year. The idea behind the model is that assets with a high SF ratio are more scarce and therefore more valuable. Bitcoin’s fixed supply and predictable emission schedule make it an ideal asset to apply the SF model to.

The SF model has been somewhat accurate in predicting the price of Bitcoin so far, although it predicted a 2021 high of $100,000 and Bitcoin only reached $69,000. The model’s creator, PlanB, has shown that Bitcoin’s price has historically followed the SF ratio closely, and that the model has accurately predicted the rise and fall of Bitcoin’s price during each halving cycle.

While the SF model has been successful in predicting Bitcoin’s price in the past, there are criticisms of the model’s applicability to other assets. The model assumes that scarcity is the only factor affecting an asset’s price, and does not take into account other factors such as demand, adoption, and technological advancements. Additionally, some argue that the model’s success in predicting Bitcoin’s price is simply due to the fact that the market is currently dominated by speculation and is not yet mature enough to accurately value Bitcoin based on its fundamentals.

The 4-Year Business Cycle

The 4-year business cycle is a well-known pattern in the economy where there are periods of expansion and contraction, typically lasting for about four years. During an expansionary period, the economy grows, businesses expand, and employment rates increase. On the other hand, during a contractionary period, the economy slows down, businesses contract, and unemployment rates rise. This cycle has been observed in many economies around the world, including the United States.

The 4-year business cycle is driven by a variety of factors, including changes in monetary policy, business investments, and consumer spending. The Federal Reserve attempts to crudely “manage” the cycle by controlling interest rates and the money supply. When the economy is expanding, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates to slow down the growth and prevent inflation. Conversely, during a contractionary period, the Federal Reserve may lower interest rates to encourage borrowing and stimulate economic growth. This communistic interference in the economy distorts the free market.

The 4-year business cycle is an important concept to understand for investors and businesses. By understanding the cycle, businesses can adjust their strategies and investments accordingly. For example, during an expansionary period, businesses may invest in new projects, expand their workforce, and increase advertising to take advantage of the growth. During a contractionary period, businesses may cut costs, reduce their workforce, and focus on maintaining profitability until the next expansionary period. Overall, understanding the 4-year business cycle can help investors and businesses make informed decisions and navigate the ups and downs of the economy.

The 4-year business cycle may therefore also have some explanatory value when it comes to the price movements of Bitcoin.


In conclusion, Bitcoin’s 4-year market cycle has been a fascinating subject to study for crypto enthusiasts and investors alike. Over the past decade, Bitcoin has demonstrated an observable pattern of price movements that is tied to its halving events, which occur approximately every 4 years. The stock-to-flow model, which measures the ratio of Bitcoin’s stock (circulating supply) to its flow (annual production), has been a useful tool for predicting Bitcoin’s future price movements. Additionally, the 4-year business cycle in the economy has been a crucial factor in understanding Bitcoin’s price movements and market trends.

It is important to remember that while these models and cycles can provide valuable insights into Bitcoin’s market behavior, they are not foolproof predictors. External factors such as regulatory changes, geopolitical events, and shifts in investor sentiment can all have an impact on Bitcoin’s price movements. However, by understanding the historical patterns and trends of the market, investors can make informed decisions about buying, selling, and holding Bitcoin.

Overall, studying the 4-year market cycles, the stock-to-flow model, and the broader economic business cycle can help investors gain a better understanding of Bitcoin’s market behavior and make more informed decisions about their investments. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these models and cycles hold up over time and what new insights we can glean from them.

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