Bitcoin’s difficulty recently hit a new all-time high. The spike on July 13 was over 9.8% and it brought the mining difficulty to a new high. At 17.35 trillion, it marks the hardest it has ever been for miners to make a profit. However, the overall hashrate has remained consistent at just above 120 EH/s.
The July 13 Spike
The July 13 spike of more than 9.8% brought the mining difficult to 17.35 trillion. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is the metric used to find a hash that is below the target automatically set by the BTC network. All validated blocks must have a hash that is below the set target. The lower the difficulty, the easier it is to mine new blocks. As the difficulty rises, acquiring BTC via mining becomes harder. The difficulty changes after two weeks, which depends on the hash rate. It occurs approximately every 2016 blocks.
The Biggest Highest Difficulty Thus Far
The 17.35 trillion is the highest that the difficulty that it has ever gone. It means that it is the hardest time to mine BTC. The difficulty spike occurs just a few months after the BTC halving event on May 11, 2020. After the halving, the BTC reward was cut by 50%, which saw miners’ revenues drop by half overnight.
While the 9.8% spike was significant, it is still lower than the 14.95% spike that occurred on June 16, 2020. However, the BTC mining difficulty was just at 15.78 trillion at the time. The second highest mining difficulty spike occurred during the March 12 BTC market crisis, in what has come to be known as black Thursday.
BTC Hash Rate Continues to Rise
While the difficulty has spiked to its highest level ever at 17.35 trillion, the BTC hash rate remains high at over 120 EH/s. There are currently 16 mining pools hashing the BTC network with F2pool being the largest mining pool today.
Other major mining pools are Antpool, Huobi, Poolin, and Btc.com. F2pool currently controls around 16% of the hash power. Poolin comes in at a close second at 15%. The other three pools control around 10% of the hash power.
Discussions around the Rising Hash Rate
The increase in the hash rate has many in the BTC community discussing the mining difficulty online. Many are concerned about the security of the BTC network. Many are wondering whether the hash rate will rise or drop.
If the hash rate keeps rising, the mining difficulty will reach a new all-time high in two weeks. If a huge number of miners capitulate before then by shutting down their machines, the difficulty will drop after 2016 blocks.
The security of the BTC network is maintained by the hashrate. If the difficulty keeps rising, it will no doubt cause most small miners to quit mining. Given the current economic crisis due to COVID19, some of them may never return. As a result, it could make the BTC network less secure. Despite this, BTC is the most popular crypto coin and it is unlikely the hash rate will drop significantly.