Bitcoin mining difficulty hits record high, network sees largest increase of 2022

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty hit an all-time high on October 10, meaning that it is harder than ever to mine the leading cryptographic asset. After the difficulty was reduced on Sept. 27, the network’s mining difficulty increased by 13.55 percent at block 758,016, printing the largest difficulty increase recorded this year.

It’s now 13.55% more difficult to discover a Bitcoin block reward, as the network’s mining difficulty hits an all-time high at 35.61 trillion.

Five days ago, bitcoin’s hash rate hit an all-time high (ATH) with 321.15 exahash per second (EH/s) at block 757,214. While the hash rate has been much higher, the speed at which blocks are found has been less than ten minutes per interval. When blocks are found faster than usual, after 2,016 blocks are found, the network difficulty adjustment shifts to increased difficulty. The opposite is true if blocks are discovered too slowly during the 2,016-block period (two weeks), and the difficulty will decrease.

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Bitcoin mining difficulty hits record high, network prints largest target increase of 2022
The last 11 mining difficulty retarget since May 25, 2022, block height 737,856.

After mining the ATH hashrate on October 5, block times remained faster than the average of ten minutes and on October 9, block intervals were spread out by 7:65 minutes. At the time of writing, even after the latest difficulty increase, Bitcoin’s block generation times are about 8.7 minutes. In addition, the current hash rate after the difficulty change is about 244.03 EH/s. The 13.55% increase in difficulty is a notable increase and the largest of 2022 so far, according to the records, as the second largest increase (9.32%) occurred on January 20, 2022.

Bitcoin mining difficulty hits record high, network prints largest target increase of 2022
The current difficulty of bitcoin on October 10, 2022.

The latest hike pushed the network’s difficulty above the previous all-time high for difficulty that was recorded on September 13 at 32.05 trillion. Today, following the retargeting, the current difficulty is 35.61 trillion and will remain at this setting for the next two weeks. Currently, the top mining pool as of Monday, October 10 is Foundry USA, which holds 29.22% of the total network hashrate. Foundry has approximately 75.87 EH/s dedicated to mining activity. BTC and the pool has discovered 149 of the 510 blocks found in the last three days.

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Antpool is the second largest mining pool with 20.39% of the world’s hashrate, or about 52.95 EH/s. The mining pool managed by Bitmain, Antpool, has discovered 104 blocks out of the 510 discovered in the last three days. Statistics show that there are now 12 known mining pools that dedicate the SHA256 hashrate to block exchange. The unknown hashrate, otherwise known as stealth miners, commands 5.09 EH/s on Monday, or 1.96 percent of the total recorded hashrate. Of the 510 blocks found in 72 hours, the unknown hashrate found ten of the block rewards.

With bitcoin prices so low, the network’s mining pools are making less money amid the highest recorded difficulty rate in over 13 years. Before the latest change, mining revenue per petahash per second (PH/s) was around 80 per PH/s and today it is $70 per PH/s. At $0.12 per kilowatt hour (kWh), only three mining rig models are profitable and at $0.07 per kWh in electrical costs, about 35 mining rig models are profitable today.

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