• Bitcoin’s hashrate jumped from the low 170 exahash per second (EH/s) to above the 300 exahash range after a number of bitcoin mining operations from Texas temporarily went offline.
• Two mining pools, Foundry USA and Antpool, currently command more than 50% of the global hashrate.
• Bitcoin mining difficulty is expected to decline significantly in 5 days.
On the evening of December 28th, the computational processing power behind the Bitcoin (BTC) network skyrocketed to 300 Exahash per second (EH/s). This increase was a result of a number of bitcoin mining operations from Texas temporarily going offline due to excess load on the grid. While this had caused the hashrate to drop to a low of 170 EH/s on December 25th, by 12:00 PM ET on December 28th, it had already climbed back to 240 EH/s.
By the following day, the total network hashrate had coasted along to 250.57 EH/s. During the past three days, two mining pools have captured more than 50% of the network’s total hashrate. According to Bitcoin Pool Distribution records on December 29th, Foundry USA controls 31.45% of the total hashrate, and Antpool commands 21.87% of the current 250.57 EH/s. Combined, these two entities control a whopping 53.32% of the global hashrate.
This concentration of power has been met with criticism and accusations of centralization. However, the hashrate is expected to decline significantly in the next five days due to a decrease in mining difficulty. This decrease is due to a combination of the recent drop in hashrate, as well as the fact that the next difficulty adjustment is projected to be less than 10% of the current level.
The implications of this are yet to be seen, and only time will tell how the Bitcoin network will respond to the sudden and drastic changes in the hashrate. Nevertheless, with two mining pools currently producing more than 50% of the global hashrate, it is clear that the blockchain is far from being as decentralized as many would have hoped.