The difficulty of mining Bitcoin (BTC) is this week expected to increase the most since January this year after hashrate on the network has seen a notable rise over the past 11 days.
Per data from BTC.com, the estimate for the next difficulty adjustment – expected to occur on Wednesday – is +6.63%, up from the current 28.35 T to 30.23 T.
That would mark the sharpest single upwards adjustment since January 21 this year, when the difficulty level rose by 9.32%.
If the difficulty level is increased upwards as expected this week, it would bring Bitcoin mining difficulty to its third highest level ever. The record was 31.25 T in May, and the second highest was 30.28 T in June, after which difficulty dropped again, data from BTC.com shows.
Bitcoin mining difficulty is the measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards. The difficulty level is automatically adjusted roughly every two weeks to ensure there are 10 minutes between each block mined.
The sharp adjustment comes after the hashrate on the Bitcoin network – or the amount of computing power dedicated to securing it – also rose markedly over the past 11 days. Compared to a low on August 8 of 198.4 Ehash/s, the hashrate on Monday stood at 231.5 Ehash/s (based on a 7-day moving average), BitInfoCharts data showed.
The expected upwards adjustment will mark the third consecutive difficulty increase for the Bitcoin network after it saw three consecutive reductions in June and July.
Most recent difficulty adjustments:
Along with the increasing difficulty and total hashrate, a decline in the profitability for miners has also been observed. Per BitInfoCharts, mining profitability has fallen consistently since August 18, when it stood at USD 0.109 per THash/s (based on a 7-day moving average).
As of Monday, the profitability has fallen to just USD 0.082 per THash/s.
At 9:30 UTC on Monday morning, BTC was trading at 19,832. It was down 1% in a day and 8% in a month. Overall, the price dropped 17% in a month and 60% in a year.
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