Data from Bitcoin mining pool BTC.com shows that Bitcoin’s mining difficulty has increased by nearly 10% over the last two weeks to hit a new all-time high of 17.35 trillion (T).
The cryptocurrency’s mining difficulty measures how hard it is for miners to find blocks on the network, and reap the rewards. The record high comes two months after bitcoin’s halving event on May 11, which reduced the BTC rewards per block from 12.5 coins to 6.25.
Mining difficulty increases as computing power being applied to find new blocks on the Bitcoin network increases, to ensure blocks are found at 10-minute intervals. This means that miners have been plugging new mining machines to help the flagship cryptocurrency’s hashrate increase.
The price of bitcoin, however, has not been rising to justify the increase of mining machines on the network. CryptoCompare data shows that after the March 12-13 crypto market crash, the price of bitcoin moved to the $9,000 mark. It has since been range-bound, trading between $9,000 and $10,000. The range seems to have dropped to $9,000 to $9,500 at the beginning of July.
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, it’s worth noting, is designed to adjust every 2016 blocks, which are mined on average every 14 days. Speaking to CoinDesk Dmitrii Ushakov, chief commercial officer at BitRiver, noted that increasing mining difficulty may be related to the rainy season in Sichuan. He said:
The increase in the network difficulty during the rainy season in Sichuan has happened every year for a few years now.
China is home to around 65% of Bitcoin’s mining power, as the country’s climate paired with cheap electricity prices help BTC miners make a profit. Per CoinDesk, the CEO of BTC.TOP Jiang Zhuo’er revealed that old mining machines like Bitmain’s AntMiner S9 can even still be profitable in the country.
Through a process called “under-clocking,” applied firmware updates bring down the electricity consumption of these machines to help them make a negligible profit per day.
Featured image via Pixabay.