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Bitcoin surges above $71,000 ahead of halving

Bitcoin surged past the $71,000 mark during Asian trading hours on Monday, marking its highest point since April 1. The rally comes as anticipation builds ahead of the much-anticipated reward halving expected to take place on April 20. This surge has not only propelled Bitcoin but also bolstered bets within the Ordinal and BRC-20 ecosystem.

According to data from CoinGecko, Bitcoin witnessed a 2% increase in the past 24 hours, reaching levels not seen since the beginning of April. Concurrently, the CoinDesk 20 index, which tracks the most liquid tokens excluding stablecoins, rose by 0.43%.

The impending halving event will see the reward for mining transactions halved, effectively reducing the rate at which new coins are introduced into circulation. Historically, such events have heralded bull markets for the cryptocurrency, as the available supply diminishes.

Currently, the block reward stands at 6.25 BTC and is set to halve to 3.125 BTC after the upcoming event. Open interest in BTC-tracked futures has remained at record highs, exceeding $25 billion for several weeks, indicating heightened expectations of price volatility and leveraged bets.

Traders are increasingly turning to Bitcoin ecosystem tokens and projects in anticipation of a rally following the halving. These bets serve as a means to indirectly capitalize on Bitcoin’s potential surge without resorting to futures products or leverage.

Recent data reveals that Ordinal volumes have surpassed those of prominent cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Solana, with notable performers including NodeMonkes and Pups. In contrast, non-fungible token (NFT) activity across all networks experienced a significant decline, hinting at a concentrated uptick in Ordinal activity.

Ordinals, a method of embedding data into the Bitcoin blockchain through small bitcoin-based transactions, have emerged as a popular choice for proxy bets on Bitcoin. Additionally, the BRC-20 category of tokens, introduced last year to enable the issuance of transferable tokens directly through the Bitcoin network, experienced a notable 6% increase in the past 24 hours.

Among the BRC-20 tokens, infrastructure token Multibit (MULTI) surged by 22%, while meme coins such as pepe (PEPE), alex (ALEX), and pizza (PIZA) witnessed gains of up to 60%. However, PUPS, the token associated with the Pups Ordinal, experienced a 22% decline as traders opted to capitalize on profits following a staggering 500% surge over the weekend.