According to data from mining services operator BTC.com
, the average bitcoin mining hash rate over the last two weeks has reached 71.43 quintillion hashes per second (EH/s), up from 64.49EH/s on July 23. The threshold was breached as bitcoin adjusted its mining difficulty at block height 586,672 on Monday 2:52 UTC – that is a 6.94EH/s, or 10.78 percent jump since mid July.
Bitcoin mining difficulty is a measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards on bitcoin. Just how difficult the bitcoin software makes it to generate new blocks adjusts every 2,016 blocks – approximately every 14 days – to ensure the block production time remains about 10 minutes at the next cycle.
Assume this additional 6.9EH/s (or 6.9 million tera hashes per second, TH/s) computing power has all come from powerful ASIC miners, such as Bitmain’s AntMiner S17 or MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M20S, both of which boast a mining rate of around 55TH/s and recently hit the market.
That means more than 100,000 top-of-line ASIC miners could have been switched on within the past two weeks. Further, given these products have been sold for at least $2,000 each, this equates to some $200 million in revenue pocketed for major miner makers.
The continued interest in bitcoin mining comes at a time when the cryptocurrency’s price appears to be en route to challenging all-time highs, however distantly, and amid the arrival of the rainy season in China, which leads to cheaper hydropower electricity costs in the country’s southwest provinces – a region that is reported
to account for 50 percent of the global mining activity,
Miners in China estimated
earlier this year that bitcoin’s hash rate in the summer would break the level of 70EH/s. To be clear, at several single points of time, bitcoin’s hash rate had already crossed that level in June and even reached 80EH/s around Aug. 1.
However, today marks the first time that the two-week average computing power has been able to remain above the 70EH/s threshold. As such, bitcoin’s mining difficulty has also set a new record of nearly 10 trillion.
Amidst this uptick in mining interest, there have been notable changes in the mining market, where top manufacturers are racing to produce more powerful equipment.
For instance, in Bitmain’s 2018 initial public offering prospectus, the Beijing-based mining giant claimed it had a 70 percent market dominance. Now, it may be facing serious competition from rival players that some believe are capable of shipping more top-of-line products with better profitability.
Michael Zhong, a former mining analyst who now operates mining farms at a startup called Force Mine, told CoinDesk that based on his experience, the production capacity ranking among major Chinese miner makers for their flagship products have changed over the years.
Zhong explained that from 2017 to 2018, Bitmain had topped the list with its AntMiner S9 series miners, followed by Canaan’s Avalon 8 series machines. InnoSilicon, Ebang and former Bitmain design director’s MicroBT were all in the third position at the time.
But from January to June this year, the delivery capacity ranking has reshuffled, with now MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M20 series at the top, followed by Bitmain’s S17 series miners and then InnoSilicon, Canaan, and Ebang, Zhong added.
According to F2pool’s miner profit tracker
, Bitmain’s flagship AntMiner S17 Pro ranks third in terms of mining profitability, following BitFury’s Tardis and MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M20S. The cost for WhatsMiner M20S
is around $3,000, while that of AntMiner S17 Pro
is around $4,000 each, based on the information advertised on the two firms’ websites.
Although orders for these flagship machines have queued up
until November and December this year, MicroBT’s founder Zuoxing Yang told CoinDesk previously that the bottleneck of production capacity is the availability of chips from suppliers.
For example, MicroBT uses 10-nm chips for its M20 series, which are relatively more affordable with a higher level of availability compared to more advanced 7-nm chips used by Bitmain for its AntMiner S17 series equipment.
While Bitmain has always been relying on chips supplied by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), MicroBT has switched from TSMC to Samsung earlier this year for its flagship products.
have estimated in their most recent Q2 earnings calls that the demand for cryptocurrency mining chips will come back in the third and the fourth quarter this year. Operating miners image courtesy to Hashage https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-computing-power-sets-new-record-as-over-100k-miners-go-online?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=coindesk&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=Organic%20
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today.
During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it
In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited.
For more threads like this see UASF
Summary / The fundamental tradeoff
A trip to the moon requires a rocket with multiple stages by gmaxwell (must read) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/438hx0/a_trip_to_the_moon_requires_a_rocket_with/
Bram Cohen, creator of bittorrent, argues against a hard fork to a larger block size https://medium.com/@bramcohen/bitcoin-s-ironic-crisis-32226a85e39f#.558vetum4
gmaxwell's summary of the debate https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1343716.msg13701818#msg13701818
Core devs please explain your vision (see luke's post which also argues that blocks are already too big) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/61yvvv/request_to_core_devs_please_explain_your_vision/
Mod of btc
speaking against a hard fork https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57hd14/core_reaction_to_viabtc_this_week/d8scokm/
It's becoming clear to me that a lot of people don't understand how fragile bitcoin is https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/59kflj/its_becoming_clear_to_me_that_a_lot_of_people/
Blockchain space must be costly, it can never be free https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4og24h/i_just_attended_the_distributed_trade_conference/
Charlie Lee with a nice analogy about the fundamental tradeoff https://medium.com/@SatoshiLite/eating-the-bitcoin-cake-fc2b4ebfb85e#.444vr8shw
gmaxwell on the tradeoffs https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1520693.msg15303746#msg15303746
jratcliff on the layering https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/59upyh/segwit_the_poison_pill_for_bitcoin/d9bstuw/
Scaling on-chain will destroy bitcoin's decentralization
Peter Todd: How a floating blocksize limit inevitably leads towards centralization [Feb 2013] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=144895.0
mailing list https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2013-February/002176.html
with discussion on reddit in Aug 2015 https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/3hnvi8/just_a_little_history_lesson_for_everyone_new_the/
Nick Szabo's blog post on what makes bitcoin so special http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2017/02/money-blockchains-and-social-scalability.html
There is academic research showing that even small (2MB) increases to the blocksize results in drastic node dropoff counts due to the non-linear increase of RAM needed. http://bravenewcoin.com/assets/Whitepapers/block-size-1.1.1.pdf
Reddit summary of above link. In this table, you can see it estimates a 40% drop immediately in node count with a 2MB upgrade and a 50% over 6 months. At 4mb, it becomes 75% immediately and 80% over 6 months. At 8, it becomes 90% and 95%. https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5qw2wa_future_led_by_bitcoin_unlimited_is_a/dd442pw/
Larger block sizes make centralization pressures worse (mathematical) https://petertodd.org/2016/block-publication-incentives-for-miners
Talk at scalingbitcoin montreal, initial blockchain synchronization puts serious constraints on any increase in the block size https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgjrS-BPWDQ&t=2h02m06s
with transcript https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/montreal2015/block-synchronization-time
Bitcoin's P2P Network: The Soft Underbelly of Bitcoin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6kibPzbrIc
someone's notes: https://gist.github.com/romyilano/5e22394857a39889a1e5
reddit discussion https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4py5df/so_f2pool_antpool_btcc_pool_are_actually_one_pool/
In adversarial environments blockchains dont scale https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/hongkong2015/in-adversarial-environments-blockchains-dont-scale
Why miners will not voluntarily individually produce smaller blocks https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/hongkong2015/why-miners-will-not-voluntarily-individually-produce-smaller-blocks
Hal Finney: bitcoin's blockchain can only be a settlement layer (mostly interesting because it's hal finney and its in 2010) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/3sb5nj/most_bitcoin_transactions_will_occur_between/
petertodd's 2013 video explaining this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZp7UGgBR0I
luke-jr's summary https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/61yvvv/request_to_core_devs_please_explain_your_vision/dficjhj/
Another jratcliff thread https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6lmpll/explaining_why_big_blocks_are_bad/
Full blocks are not a disaster Blocks must be always full, there must always be a backlog https://medium.com/@bergealex4/bitcoin-is-unstable-without-the-block-size-size-limit-70db07070a54#.kh2vi86lr
Same as above, the mining gap means there must always be a backlog talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2453&v=iKDC2DpzNbw transcript: https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/montreal2015/security-of-diminishing-block-subsidy
Backlogs arent that bad https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/49p011/was_the_fee_event_really_so_bad_my_mind_is/
Examples where scarce block space causes people to use precious resources more efficiently https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4kxxvj/i_just_singlehandedly_increased_bitcoin_network/
Full blocks are fine https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5uld1a/misconception_full_blocks_mean_bitcoin_is_failing/
High miner fees imply a sustainable future for bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/680tvf/fundamentals_friday_week_of_friday_april_28_2017/dgwmhl7/
gmaxwell on why full blocks are good https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6b57ca/full_blocks_good_or_bad/dhjxwbz/
The whole idea of the mempool being "filled" is wrong headed. The mempool doesn't "clog" or get stuck, or anything like that. https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/7cusnx/to_the_people_still_doubting_that_this_congestion/dpssokf/
What is segwit luke-jr's longer summary https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6033h7/today_is_exactly_4_months_since_the_segwit_voting/df3tgwg/?context=1
Charlie Shrem's on upgrading to segwit https://twitter.com/CharlieShrem/status/842711238853513220
Original segwit talk at scalingbitcoin hong kong + transcript https://youtu.be/zchzn7aPQjI?t=110
Segwit is not too complex https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57vjin/segwit_is_not_great/d8vos33/
Segwit does not make it possible for miners to steal coins, contrary to what some people say https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5e6bt0/concerns_with_segwit_and_anyone_can_spend/daa5jat/?context=1
Segwit is required for a useful lightning network It's now known that without a malleability fix useful indefinite channels are not really possible.
Clearing up SegWit Lies and Myths: https://achow101.com/2016/04/Segwit-FUD-Clearup
Segwit is bigger blocks https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5pb8vs/misinformation_is_working_54_incorrectly_believe/dcpz3en/
Typical usage results in segwit allowing capacity equivalent to 2mb blocks https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/69i2md/observe_for_yourself_segwit_allows_2_mb_blocks_in/
Why is segwit being blocked Jihan Wu (head of largest bitcoin mining group) is blocking segwit because of perceived loss of income https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/60mb9e/complete_high_quality_translation_of_jihans/
Witness discount creates aligned incentives https://segwit.org/why-a-discount