The biggest proof-of-work cryptocurrency in the world is now significantly more difficult to mine.
According to BTC.com, the Bitcoin mining difficulty jumped by nearly 10% in the last two weeks, making current BTC mining one of the hardest it has ever been.
According to the website’s analysis, the network’s mining difficulty has reached 30.97 trillion, with the hash rate hovering at 230 exahash per second (EH/s) today.
To make things even harder, the difficulty is expected to go up by 0.47% in the next week.
This is terrible news for the PoW community due to the fact that harder mining makes mining stations have to work harder and at the same time receive less BTC as a reward.
Putting it simply, harder mining generates more energy costs while also giving out fewer prizes.
The spike in difficulty could be due to the fact that a large number of former Ethereum miners are now jumping ship on Bitcoin.
Mining Community Takes Another Hit
The past few weeks have not been kind to cryptocurrency enthusiasts who invested in costly rigs in order to be a part of the mining community.
In August, the Texas mining community decided to completely stop mining BTC in order to save energy costs in the midst of a historical heat wave in the State.
Then, on September 15th, Ethereum – the second-largest proof-of-work cryptocurrency in the world, completely abandoned its proof-of-work consensus mechanism in order to adopt cryptocurrency staking – leaving over 260 thousand Ether miners without a token.
To make things even worse, the United States energy bills increased by 15.8% in August, making it the biggest rise in 41 years – meanwhile, Bitcoin struggles to get over the US$20,000 mark in the midst of the crypto winter.
A Different Perspective
While it might seem that cryptocurrency mining is on the verge of extinction, some cryptocurrency experts are not so sure.
According to Scott Norris, co-founder of the private BTC miner LSJ Ops, the increase in Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is actually a good thing for the future of mining.
In a statement to Decrypt, Norris expressed that difficulty shrinking would be the actual cause for concern, meaning that if that happened, it would mean that the mining community was getting smaller which would make the network less efficient.
“A difficulty increase is an indicator of a strong and growing network, it’s actually a good thing,” Norris told Decrypt. “sectors like gas and hydro are championing cheap energy costs and allowing for a new generation of long-term mining to emerge.”