According to data from blockchain.com Bitcoin’s mining hash rate has exceeded 50 exahash/s for the first time as of 28 July 2018. The precise average hash rate for 28 July was 50.277 exahash/s, which is the new record. Considering the exponential growth of Bitcoin’s hash rate long term, this record will probably be surpassed soon.
The current jump in Bitcoin’s hash rate is likely due to the rally in Bitcoin’s price from USD 6,000 to USD 8,500, although as of this writing on 30 July 2018 the price has leveled out a bit and now sits near USD 8,000. Increasing Bitcoin price makes mining more profitable, allowing older rigs that had become unprofitable during the bear market to be re-connected to the network, and swelling the treasuries of Bitcoin mining companies allowing them to buy more mining equipment.
The Bitcoin mining difficulty has jumped to 5.95 trillion as of 29 July, which is the new record. This represents an increase of 771 billion since the last 2,016 block difficulty adjustment on 17 July, which is the record for the magnitude of a difficulty adjustment increase. It’s supposed to take two weeks for 2,016 blocks to be mined, but Bitcoin’s hash rate increased so quickly during the 2,016 blocks that it only took 12 days. This is why difficulty adjustments are required, otherwise Bitcoin block times would get so small that all of the mineable Bitcoins would be mined all at once.
Increasing difficulty is another factor that pushes the mining hash rate higher, since miners need more equipment to maintain profits as difficulty increases.
Bitcoin’s mining hash rate has been increasing exponentially. It was 15 exahash/s at the beginning of 2018, 2.5 exahash/s at the beginning of 2017, 0.7 exahash/s at the beginning of 2016, 0.3 exahash/s at the beginning of 2015, and 0.01 exahash/s at the beginning of 2014. At the beginning of 2013, Bitcoin’s hash rate was only 25 TH/s, where a terahash is a hundred thousandth of an exahash. Of course, Bitcoin had to start somewhere, and there was a time when its mining hash rate was less than 1 gigahash/s and even less than 1 megahash/s after launching in 2009.
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