Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Reaches All-time High, Hashrate More Than Doubled Since End of 2015

The Bitcoin mining difficulty has set a new all-time high, indicating a growing demand by individuals and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency. The most recent change saw a slight increase in difficulty and another 5.9% increase is scheduled to take place in just over 12 days from now. The total network hash rate is well above 1,874 million GH/s, and there is no sign of weakening anytime soon.

Bitcoin Mining Becomes More Difficult Than Ever Before

Throughout the past seven years, the Bitcoin mining difficulty has gone through several highs and lows. Satoshi Nakamoto designed this protocol in such a way that the difficulty would automatically adjust depending on the most recent network hashrate when a difficulty change is designed to go into effect.

To put this into perspective, fewer people mining on the network before a difficulty change will, usually, result in a negative difficulty adjustment. Doing so would attract more miners again, who help secure and decentralize the network. However, as the hashrate continues to increase, so will the difficulty, which explains why we are at a new all-time high right now.

It is the first time in over seven years that the Bitcoin mining difficulty is this high. It is not entirely unexpected, given the fact that the network hashrate has not gone down by much in recent months. In fact, one could say that the past two months have been rather flat until a batch of new miners was added not too long ago.

When looking at things from an even wider perspective, it is not hard to see why the mining difficulty has been ramping up. The nine-month chart shows a clear incremental increase of hashrate every month, which will eventually push the difficulty higher than before. While we are currently at an all-time high difficulty, that record will be improved in the next few weeks if this hashrate keeps on growing.

Despite the growing hashrate and mining difficulty, Bitcoin network blocks are still being generated within the same time window as before. The average block time is 9.7 minutes, with six blocks being found in the past 58.2 minutes (as of one hour ago). Looking over the year 2016 so far, the Bitcoin mining hashrate has more than doubled between December 31, 2015, and September 25, 2016.                 

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