After sustained growth over the past three months, computing power on the bitcoin network has seen a fallback as the summer rainy season trails off in China.
According to data from Poolin, the world’s largest bitcoin mining pool by real time hash rate, bitcoin’s seven-day average computing (or hashing) power has dropped to around 90 exahashes per second (EH/s) since Oct. 24, signaling that some miners have been unplugging from the network. It had previously been estimated that the hash rate would go above the 100 EH/s threshold by the end of 2019
As a result of the power drop, data from mining pool service BTC.com estimates that bitcoin’s difficulty – a measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards on the world’s top cryptocurrency by market value – will decrease by 1.5 percent when it’s set to adjust in about seven days.
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty had reached an all-time-high at 13.69 trillion on Oct. 24, following a 38 percent increase since early August. The climb resulted mainly from an increase in miners’ hashing power made possible by the abundant and cheap hydroelectricity in China’s southwestern provinces.
Mining difficulty is designed to adjust itself to go up or down about every 14 days, based on whether the hashing power on the network in the two-week cycle increases or declines, respectively. The Oct. 24 difficulty record followed a jump in the 14-day average hash rate to an all-time-high at 97.90 EH/s.
Poolin’s co-founder Chris Zhu said in a recent WeChat post that one main reason for the fallback over the last week is the gradual end of this year’s rainy season in China.