On May 18, 2023, at block height 790,272, Bitcoin’s difficulty reached an all-time high after rising 3.22% on Thursday. The network’s difficulty is now at an impressive 49.55 trillion, or 0.90% away from 50 trillion hashes, making it the most difficult it has ever been to discover a block reward.
Bitcoin’s Difficulty Rises to Uncharted Territory, Straining Miners
This year, Bitcoin once again broke a record as the network’s difficulty jumped by 3.22%, rising to an unprecedented height of 49.55 trillion. The network’s difficulty is a measure of how hard it is to find a hash value that meets the required criteria for a new block to be added to the Bitcoin blockchain. Notably, the recent rise in difficulty followed a 1.45% drop at block height 788,256, where the chain’s difficulty remained at 48.01 trillion for approximately two weeks.
Bitcoin miners are currently dedicating 363.84 exahash per second (EH/s) toward the Bitcoin blockchain. The latest increase of 3.22% happened at block height 790,272, and the next difficulty change should occur on or around May 31, 2023. Recent statistics show that block intervals are running a bit longer than the usual ten-minute average. At 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on May 18, the intervals ranged from ten minutes and 12 seconds to ten minutes and 33 seconds.
In the last 72 hours, the leading bitcoin mining pool has been Foundry USA, with a hashrate of approximately 109.04 EH/s. This accounts for 30.02% of the Bitcoin network’s total hashrate during that timeframe. Foundry is followed by Antpool’s 77.77 EH/s, F2pool’s 54.52 EH/s, and Viabtc’s 40.89 EH/s. Binance Pool, the fifth largest by hashrate, has approximately 27.26 EH/s of hashrate today.
Despite the increasing difficulty, Bitcoin miners have maintained a high hashrate by investing greater computational power into the network. While BTC prices are below the $27,000 range, they are significantly higher than the value of $16,500 that BTC traded for on December 31, 2022. Furthermore, in addition to the all-time high (ATH) difficulty on May 18, the network’s hashrate reached an ATH on May 2 when it reached 491.15 exahash per second (EH/s) at block height 787,895.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin’s rising difficulty and its impact on miners? Share your insights and opinions in the comments section below.