Ethereum Mining Rewards Hit Record Low Ahead of Constantinople Hard Fork

Francisco Memoria

The amount of Ether being generated by miners focusing on the Ethereum blockchain has recently hit a record low, weeks ahead of the upcoming Constantinople hard fork. Behind the drop is a significant increase in hashrate on the network.

According to Etherscan data, on February 12 a total of 13,155 ETH were mined in a total of 4,273 blocks. The amount is significant compared to the nearly 20,000 ETH mined in December of last year, and the all-time high record of over 39,000 in July of 2015.

Ethereum's block rewards over time

The recent drop in ETH mining rewards appears to have been caused by a sudden hashrate increase, which according to Etherscan data saw about 400 TH of new hashrate enter the network before the reward drop.

Notably, this comes shortly before the cryptocurrency Constantinople hard fork- a backwards incompatible upgrade – is scheduled to go live. The upgrade to the first and largest blockchain platform for creating smart contract-enabled decentralized applications (dApps) was previously scheduled for last month, but was rescheduled after a vulnerability was detected.

The Constantinople hard fork consists of various Ethereum codebase modifications, specified in several Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), and is set to be activated later this month.

The EIPs that composed it includes a better approach to accommodating network scaling solutions, an improvement on how contracts are processed, a more cost-efficient approach to processing information, and a 12-month delay to Ethereum’s so-called difficulty bomb, along with a mining reward reduction from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block.

Meanwhile, dApp Radar data has shown that 86% of decentralized applications on the Ethereum network had zero users last Saturday, February 9, at a time in which 90% of the dApps in the cryptocurrency ecosystem recorded no transactions.

Despite these developments, there’s still development going on in Ethereum. Opera’s Android browser, has covered, has recently made cryptocurrency purchases easier on its built-in cryptocurrency wallet.