At the time of writing, the computational power behind the Bitcoin (BTC) network is coasting along at 213.27 EH/s, and for a majority of the time during the last seven days BTC’s hashpower has remained above 200 EH/s. On Thursday, at block height 727,776, bitcoin miners caught a break when the network’s mining difficulty dropped downwards 0.35%. The 0.35% slide is the second drop in a row after the network’s difficulty slid 1.49% on March 3.
With the two difficulty drops combined, it is now 1.84% easier to find a bitcoin block subsidy than it was before March 3. On that day, the difficulty was 27.96 trillion and at the time of writing, Bitcoin’s network difficulty is 27.45 trillion. The downward drop on Thursday at block height 727,776 was a small shift downward, as it was expected to increase according to estimations recorded on March 13. While the difficulty has seen two consecutive decreases, prior to those adjustments, the difficulty increased six times in a row.
Foundry USA Commands This Week’s Top Mining Pool Position, Educated Estimates Guess the Mining Difficulty Could Increase During the Next Shift
Despite the 1.84% difficulty decrease over the last month, BTC’s mining difficulty is still the highest it’s been during the network’s lifetime. The network’s all-time difficulty high was the 27.96 trillion that miners dealt with before the 1.49% dip at block height 725,760. Furthermore, there are still 11 known mining pools dedicating hashpower to the network and around 2.35 EH/s of hashrate belongs to unknown miners. Stealth miners — often referred to as an “unknown” pool — have found 12 bitcoin blocks during the last week.
Seven-day statistics indicate that Foundry USA was the week’s top bitcoin mining pool capturing 228 bitcoin blocks. Weekly metrics show Foundry USA commands 21.76% of the global hashrate, or 44.62 EH/s. The second-largest miner in terms of seven-day hashrate stats is F2pool as the pool acquired 141 bitcoin block rewards this past week.
F2pool’s hashrate represents 13.45% of the global hashrate with the pool’s 27.59 EH/s of hashpower. Foundry USA and F2pool are followed by Antpool, Poolin, and Viabtc, respectively, in terms of the top five mining pools during the past week. With the current hashrate speed it is estimated that the next difficulty change will take place in just over 12 days from now.
As mentioned above, the estimation of exactly when the adjustment will happen and how much it will decrease or increase is an educated guess made by leveraging current statistics. Estimations currently show the difficulty change in 12 days’ time could be a 0.57% increase. Although, by the time it gets closer, Bitcoin’s difficulty change could increase a lot more than that, or even experience another downward adjustment.
Effects of Halving on Bitcoin Rewards
Bitcoin halving cuts in half the rewards Bitcoin miners receive after each set of 210,000 blocks is mined. That limits the supply of new coins which could keep prices high as long as the demand is there. There is not another expected halving until Feb 2024. The last halving occurred in May 11 2020.
Bitcoin Block Reward Chart from this site.
The halving schedule is not set in stone and is programmed into Bitcoin’s source code. The times can vary slightly depending on the miner and how long it takes them to solve the hash puzzle.
Via this site.
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