The last two mining difficulty changes on the Bitcoin network have driven the difficulty to an all-time high, resulting in a decrease in hashrate and blocking interval speed. Before the last 4.68% increase in difficulty retargeting, block intervals were faster than the 10-minute average, at around 8 minutes 54 seconds to 9 minutes 31 seconds. However, since the change, block times have slowed, with stats showing durations from 10 minutes 44 seconds to 10 minutes 36 seconds.
Slower than average block intervals can cause Bitcoin mining difficulty to decrease
The next mining difficulty change is scheduled for February 12, 2023. At the time of writing, metrics indicate that the difficulty could drop as much as 5.6% below the current rate. The drop in estimated mining difficulty for Bitcoin is due to slower than average block intervals. Prior to the last two difficulty increases, block times were faster, resulting in increases. Currently, data shows block times have slowed since the last difficulty change, with times ranging from 10 minutes 44 seconds to 10 minutes 36 seconds.
Bitcoin’s hashrate has been below average, averaging 279 exahashes per second (EH/s) over the past 2,016 blocks. As of 11:30 a.m. ET on February 4, 2023, stats show the hashrate at 258 PE/s. On February 1, 2023, the total hashrate fell to 217 PE/s after peaking at 279 PE/s the previous day. The hashrate then rose, reaching 309 PE/s on February 2, before declining by 16.50% to its current level of 258 PE/s.
As of Saturday, the top Bitcoin mining pool is Foundry USA, with 90.61 exahash per second (EH/s) or 33.4% of the total hashrate. Foundry is followed by Antpool (18.14%), F2pool (14.08%), Binance Pool (13.13%) and Viabtc (9.07%). Thirteen known Bitcoin mining pools contribute to the hashrate of the blockchain, while unknown miners, known as stealth miners, control 1.67% of the hashrate, or 4.53 PE/s. If slower block intervals lead to a decrease in difficulty in eight days, miners will get a two-week reprieve from the all-time high difficulty.
What impact will the decrease in Bitcoin mining difficulty have on the overall network and hashrate of the cryptocurrency? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons