Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Hits New All-Time High After 11% Increase

The mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network has recently hit a new all-time high, at a time in which the flagship cryptocurrency’s price keeps rising. This, according to some, could mean miners are investing their profits into more equipment, betting on BTC.

According to data from BTC.com, the mining difficulty recently increased by 11.26% to reach a high 7.46 trillion, above the previous record made in October of last year, when the difficulty rose to 7.45 trillion. Similarly, the cryptocurrency’s hashrate has been growing steadily, and is now at over 53 EH/s.

As CoinMetrics points out, the data seems to show that cryptocurrency miners are reinvesting their margins into more mining equipment, a bet on the flagship cryptocurrency’s security and sustainability.

The recent difficulty adjustment is the highest one since December of last year, when the Bitcoin network saw difficulty increase by little over 10%. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is adjusted every 2,016 blocks – roughly every two weeks – to ensure the rate at which new blocks are created remains constant at 10 minutes per block.

The next difficulty adjustment is expected to bring the network to a new all-time high at 8.25 trillion. Notably, the difficulty keeps rising along with BTC’s price. CryptoCompare data shows the cryptocurrency is up by 3.6% in the last 24-hour period, and by 57.8% in the last 30 days.

The price of bitcoin has nearly tripled since it hit $3,200 in December of last year, as it’s currently trading at over $8,600. The cryptocurrency has briefly moved past the $9,000 mark this year, but saw its price drop by 10% in under six hours shortly after.

Recently, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz stated he believes BTC will consolidate between the $7,000 and $10,000 marks in the near future, as “trees don’t grow to the sky.” The CEO of Galaxy Digital showed he’s still bullish on bitcoin, which he predicted will hit $20,000 within 18 months.

Ripple CEO: 'You Don’t Want to Use BTC at Starbucks'

On Thursday (January 23), Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, told the Wallet Street Journal (WSJ) that Bitcoin is not a good means of payment because BTC transactions take too long.

The Ripple CEO's comments were made during his talk with Phillipa Leighton-Jones (Editorial Director for Innovation) at a Ripple-sponsored event (organized by the WSJ) called "Ripple Panel: Changing the Finance Industry From Within" held alongside this year's World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Although we don't yet have a full transcript of this interview, we do know about two of the things he talked about thanks to tweets by Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product at Ripple, who was at this event.

First, it seems that although the Ripple CEO likes Bitcoin as a store of value, he does not see (at least, as of now) as a viable means of payment. The example he gave was paying for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. He believes that BTC transactions take so long to confirm that by the time you have finished paying for your coffee, "it'll be cold." 

Second, within the next 12 months, he sees several companies in the crypto space holding initial public offerings (IPOs) and he wants Ripple to be "on the leading side" since this is "a natural evolution" for Ripple, which raised $200 million via a Series C funding round (which valued the company at $10 billion) last month. 

On Wednesday (January 22), Ripple published the "Q4 2019 XRP Markets Report", which is a quarterly report that allows Ripple to "voluntarily provide transparency and regular updates on the company’s views on the state of the XRP market, including quarterly programmatic and institutional sales updates, relevant XRP-related announcements such as Xpring and RippleNet partnerships and commentary on previous quarter market developments." 

In Q4 2019, Ripple's total XRP sales were down just over 80% compared to the preceding quarter ($13.08 million vs. $66.24 million). Ripple "continued the pause of programmatic sales" (to crypto exchanges), and focused exclusively on over-the-counter (OTC) sales to "a few strategic partners, who are building XRP utility and liquidity in strategic regions including EMEA and Asia."

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