Bitcoin (BTC) Records Fourth Consecutive Mining Difficulty Decline
Bitcoin (BTC) has become increasingly easier to mine for the fourth straight difficulty epoch as the network continues to feel the effect of the sweeping crypto mining ban in China. Meanwhile, the hash rate is expected to migrate to the Western hemisphere with mining establishments keen to upscale their operations to cover the temporary void left by Chinese miners going offline.
Bitcoin Difficulty Plunges Further
According to data from BTC.com, the Bitcoin Difficulty declined by 4.81 percent from 14.36 trillion (T) to 13.67 T on Sunday (July 18, 2021). This drop is the fourth straight decline, the first of such an occurrence since 2011.
A decade ago, the Bitcoin difficulty experienced eight consecutive downward corrections that finally culminated in an 8.54 percent drop on October 29, 2011. This record eight consecutive difficulty epoch drop came after 12 consecutive upward difficulty adjustments during the preceding four months.
Difficulty represents the ease with which miners are able to solve the cryptographic problem involved in mining a Bitcoin block. This value is automatically adjusted every 2016 blocks, an interval that often takes two weeks.
The difficulty adjustment is based on the changes in hash rate during the previous two weeks (2016 blocks) difficult epoch. Thus, with the hash rate continuing to decline since the mining ban in China, it is unsurprising to see the continued drop in difficulty for Bitcoin.
Hash rate refers to the amount of computational power expended per second to secure the Bitcoin network. As of the time of writing, Bitcoin’s hash rate is at about 98 exahashes per second (EH/s), according to figures from Ycharts.
At 98 EH/s the Bitcoin hash rate is more than 50 percent down from its almost 200 EH/s all-time high achieved back in April 2021 when BTC was at the zenith of its parabolic price advance that began back in late 2020. The hash rate decline has in many ways mirrored the price crash.
The East-West Hash Shift
Bitcoin’s hash rate plunge and subsequent difficulty decline has coincided with a period of massive upheaval in China’s crypto mining scene. As previously reported by BTCManager, miners in the country have been hit with shutdown orders from the authorities.
Some establishments have already begun moving their hardware overseas with Kazakhstan playing host to some Chinese mining companies. Meanwhile, North American Bitcoin miners are using the opportunity to expand their operations in the hopes of becoming the dominant player in the global hash rate distribution.