Despite recent concerns voiced by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining has hit another milestone.
According to network status information from BTC.com, the average Bitcoin hashrate in the last two weeks has reached 71.43 EH/s (Exahash per second), a 10.8% increase from July 23rd’s hashrate of 64.49EH/s. This milestone was overcome as Bitcoin adjusted its mining difficulty on Monday, at block height 586,672.
Assumably, the large discrepancy in weekly hashrates has come from ASIC miners, including recent high end miners that can deliver hashrates of up to 55TH/s per unit, by virtue of Bitmain’s recently unveiled AntMiner S17 and MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M20S.
The increased interest in mining comes during a spike in Bitcoin’s value when compared to the US dollar – analysts are anticipating a bull run, with the potential to challenge previous highs set by the currency. However, this peak in BTC value is not the main cause attributed to the hashrate changes seen today.
More prominently, the interest likely stems from the beginning of the rainy season in China, which leads to cheaper electricity costs from hydroelectric dams in the Southwest, a region previously reported to account for 50% of miners, globally. Chinese miners estimated earlier in 2019 that hashrates in the summer would exceed 70EH/s.
The extreme influence of the mining community in China has not gone without recognition by the crypto community. Previously, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee explained unexpected halving behavior with the absurdly low electricity costs in China, leaving the mining community undeterred by lower profits from reward halving.
Although the hashrate had previously peaked at levels above 71.43EH/s in June – and even reached 80EH/s on August 1st – this marks the first sustainable two week average about 70EH/s. This increased pressure has led to a record high mining difficulty, approaching 10 trillion.