It just got harder and less profitable to mine for bitcoin.
Every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, bitcoin resets how tough it is for miners to mine. Early Friday morning, as expected, the bitcoin code automatically made it about 7.3% more difficult to solve a block.
Historically speaking, this spike in difficulty is on the larger side, but it isn’t surprising, nor is it alarming. But it marks the first sizable increase since the Chinese mining ban took effect and serves as confirmation of a trend we already knew was underway: Some of the miners that used to be in China are finding new homes elsewhere.
And while it may not be quite as lucrative to mint bitcoin as it was before the algorithm self-corrected, miners are continuing to make way more money now than they were before China’s crypto crackdown in May.
“Hashrate levels are still down 42.1% from the peak in May 2021 when the China exodus happened,” said Jason Deane, an analyst at crypto advisory firm Quantum Economics. That hashrate deficit means that those plugged into the bitcoin network right now are making bank.
Coming back online
When China kicked out all its miners this spring, more than half the computing power in the bitcoin network went dark. Miners elsewhere on the globe had to pick up the slack. Fewer people and less computing power meant that it was taking longer to verify transactions and mint new bitcoin.
So, like clockwork,