Bitcoin’s mining difficulty just recorded its biggest percentage drop since the advent of ASIC mining machines in late 2012, dropping just over 16% and giving miners a reason to rejoice as their profitability is down. set to increase considerably.
The difficulty fell to 16.787 trillion at around 9:00 a.m. UTC on Tuesday, its lowest level since June, according to data aggregated by BTC.com. The adjustment marks the second largest percentage decrease of all time.
Mining difficulty is a relative measure of the amount of resources required to compete for mining new bitcoin. It goes up or down at the end of roughly two week epochs (or block periods of 2016) depending on whether the estimated total hash power consumed by the network has also increased or decreased.
Tuesday’s significant adjustment comes as many mining companies in China’s Sichuan province take their machines offline and relocate to cheaper energy sources after the region’s rainy season ends, such as CoinDesk l ‘had previously reported.
Over the next two weeks, until the next adjustment, miners with always-on-line machines will get a welcome respite from struggling through an unusually difficult year, which Thomas Heller, COO of mining software company HASHR8, said. described as “truly one of a kind”.
As the price of bitcoin has increased dramatically over the past few months and the amount of energy required to mine new bitcoin now has declined, “the margins of efficient miners will expand dramatically,” explained John Lee Quigley, Director of research at HASHR8, in a published memo. Monday. In addition, “a myriad of inefficient miners will once again be able to mine profitably,” he added.
In short, between now and the next difficulty adjustment will be “extremely lucrative” for bitcoin miners, Quigley told CoinDesk in a direct message.
Beyond its size, Tuesday’s adjustment is also notable due to the rarity of negative adjustments. Only 17% of the adjustments are negative and even less – around 2% – are double-digit percentage decreases.
“What we are seeing now is indeed an anomaly,” Quigley said. “Higher prices almost always lead to higher hardships.”
Additionally, machines relocated by Asian-based mining companies are expected to come back online in the coming weeks, and other miners may bring more machines online in the coming weeks to take advantage of the period of increased profitability. which could cause difficulties. increase over the next adjustment periods.
Improving margins for miners during the hashrate decline is temporary, said Daniel Frumkin, engineer and technical writer at Slush Pool, the very first bitcoin mining pool launched by Braiins in 2010.
“That said, no one is going to complain about bigger margins for 2-4 weeks,” he told CoinDesk.