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Bitcoin difficulty growth slows down, allowing increased profitability

The latest adjustment, effective at block height 721,728, increased mining difficulty by only 0.18%. In this overview, we’ll analyze the effects this has on mining and profitability.

Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash

Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment in numbers

The latest difficulty adjustment occurred at block height 721,728, mined on February 3. The hashrate at the time of the adjustment was approximately 191.04 EH/s — an new all-time high for difficulty adjustments.

Hashrate was merely 0.17% higher than the 190.71 EH/s from the previous difficulty change. Nevertheless, that small increase was enough for difficulty to reach a new all-time high.

Bitcoin hashrate (Source: Coin Metrics).

As a result, difficulty increased 0.18% from 26.64T to 26.69T, a new maximum for Bitcoin. In other words, finding a block has never been more demanding, and the Bitcoin network has never been more secure.

Moreover, the last adjustment raised difficulty for the fifth consecutive time, showing the miners’ resilience during an adverse price action.

Bitcoin mining difficulty (Source: Coin Metrics).

Difficulty adjustment effects on profitability

After many weeks of falling profitability, miners finally enjoyed a small jump in revenue.

After the previous adjustment, revenue per hash per second — also known as hashprice — reached its lowest point since December 2020.

However, a quick recovery in bitcoin’s price and difficulty remaining practically the same this time came as a breath of fresh air for miners. Hashprice managed to jump back up and recover the $0.20 line.

Closing thoughts

Whether mining profitability can keep recovering will depend on two factors:

  • Bitcoin price further increasing over the following weeks.
  • Hashrate slowing down its growth, therefore stopping difficulty from increasing.

Although both these situations may occur in the short term, it’s unlikely that hashrate will remain stagnant throughout 2022.

With many of the world’s largest mining enterprises already expanding, rumors of governments looking into mining themselves, and overall interest in mining going through the roof, we expect hashrate to reach new maximums over the coming months.

Additionally, mining hardware manufacturers will launch new, more powerful ASIC models this year, which will raise hashrate significantly and force miners with older models to upgrade to keep their profitability.

ASIC miner.

All things considered, it will be an exciting year for Bitcoin mining. And with all factors pointing to a boom in hashrate, small profitability jumps like this one are always appreciated.

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