Example of ASIC mining rigs in a bitcoin mine. Source: thecoinsman.com

 

Bitcoin Network Hash Rate Blasts Past 80 Quintillion Hashes Per Second

 

Bitcoin continues to make new record highs, though not necessarily in terms of its price. Today, the Bitcoin Network hash rate reached a new high of 84 quintillion hashes (or 84 million terahashes) per second. This means that bitcoin is now more secure than ever and it would require at least 350 days of a sustained “51% attack” in order to rewrite the entirety of the bitcoin blockchain. In terms of hash power, the Bitcoin Network uses more power than all other mineable coins combined, with the next biggest contender, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), using a paltry equivalent of 2.8% of BTC’s hash power.

Historically speaking, bitcoin’s hash rate has been almost always on the increase, except for when it declined somewhat dramatically toward the end of 2018 as high-powered mining pools shifted their focus away from BTC to mine BCH and BSV during the great Bitcoin Cash Civil War. The war has long ended, however, and the interest in mining BTC is now higher than ever, signaling bullish optimism for the future of bitcoin.

Bitcoin hash rate since its launch in 2009. Source: blockchain.com

 

It should be noted that the price of mining bitcoin varies tremendously around the world due to the high variance in electricity costs among different countries. For instance, in 2018 it was estimated to only cost about $531 per bitcoin to mine in Venezuela, whereas it cost around $26,170 to mine a bitcoin in South Korea. However, with the price of BTC having tripled since its low last December, it is now once again profitable to mine in several countries around the world, encouraging several miners to either enter or re-enter the game.

What is “Hash Rate”?

The hash rate is a way of measuring the sum of all mining power currently being used to mine on a coin’s network. Before the advent of ASICs, or mining hardware specifically designed to mine bitcoin, the hash rate was relatively stable. After the invention of ASICs, the hash rate skyrocketed, growing even faster as better hardware became available. As far as mining bitcoin is concerned, a “hash” is basically a single guess at finding the next nonce that is required to attach an incoming block to the blockchain. A terahash (TH) is the equivalent of one trillion hashes. A top of the line ASIC miner, such as the Bitmain Antminer S9, can perform an amazing 14 TH per second. When hundreds (or thousands) of these machines are connected together – as is done in many mining farms and pools – they stand a legitimate chance of regularly mining bitcoin blocks.

A growing hash rate means a Proof of Work (PoW) coin is healthy, because it means there is strengthening interest in mining a coin to obtain its lucrative block reward, which for bitcoin miners is currently 12.5 BTC. It also means that it is consuming more energy, as well. At its current rate, the Bitcoin Network currently consumes about 73 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year, putting it on par with a country the size of Austria in terms of annual energy consumption.

source: BitcoinEnergyConsumption.com

 

As the hash rate rises, the mining difficulty follows, readjusting periodically to insure that miners do not mine blocks too quickly. Both BTC mining difficulty and price have been on an exponential course since at least 2013, hopefully following a trend that will continue well into the future.

Data courtesy of blockchain.com. The price of BTC (left axis, blue line) compared to mining difficulty (right axis, red line) on a logarithmic scale, with their respective exponential trend lines.