Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, has published a report claiming Bitcoin could hit $15,000 this year.

According to the exchange’s report, first reported on by local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin, the main factor behind the predicted price rise is the upcoming halving event, which is set to occur in May at block height 630,000.

The halving event will cut Bitcoin block rewards in half, from 12.5 BTC per block to 6.25 BTC per block. Experts are divided on the real effect the reduced inflation will have, as some argue it will remind investors of bitcoin’s scarcity and help drive up its value. Bitcoin has been through two halving events in the past, in 2012 and 2016, and in both cases BTC’s price rose.

The Bitcoin halving has been drawing attention, as data from Google Trends compiled by analytics firm Arcane Research shows search interest for “bitcoin halving” has been skyrocketing since the end of last year. The report read:

The bitcoin halving is gaining more traction. There is now a clear indication that awareness of the concept is spreading to new people.

Mercado Bitcoin’s $15,000 price prediction is also based on Bitcoin’s rise above $9,000 this month, which according to the São Paulo-based cryptocurrency exchange shows investors expect a BTC price increase until the end of the year.

Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency with a positive outlook, as Mercado Bitcoin pointed out in its report it sees most cryptoasset appreciate in 2020 over the growing attention they’ve been receiving. This attention partly comes from central banks and other financial institutions looking into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)

As CryptoGlobe reported, several central banks throughout the world, including the European Central Bank (ECB), have considered launching their own cryptocurrencies. Mercado Bitcoin sees this as growing acceptance from the traditional finance space. The report reads:

These projects consider using blockchain technology to make their digital currencies feasible, which would further boost the acceptance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The exchange added that Facebook’s Libra, however, may not become a reality this year as several members of the Libra Association – Vodafone being the latest – have abandoned the organization.

China’s position on cryptocurrencies, it adds, may become clearer with time, but “volatility associated with news from there” is to be expected.

Featured image via Pixabay.