Mining is very common, especially in China. Mining is mostly done with GPU (graphics cards) or specialized devices (ASIC). The picture shows a GPU mining farm.
The Bitcoin hashrate fell by more than 35% within a few days. According to Core Scientific, this slump was due to the end of the rainy season in Sichuan, China.
Bitcoin hashrate slump due to the end of the rainy season
In China, Bitcoin mining is operated in rainy areas with cheap hydropower. During the rainy season, from June to October, the dams are full and there is a healthy supply of electricity. During this time, the Bitcoin miners are working at full speed and can fall back on cheaper electricity prices.
However, when the rain in the region subsides, bitcoin mining will become far less profitable as prices triple or quadruple, according to Tarak Kulyk, senior vice president of blockchain business development at Core Scientific. Kulyk said in an interview:
The weather is a major profit driver for many Chinese miners as they can buy old equipment cheaply but can only be profitable for five months a year.
Bitcoin’s hashrate is a measure of the collective computing power of BTC miners. Ingo Fiedler, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Lab, said the following:
Since Bitcoin mining is energy-intensive, miners look for where the energy is cheapest. As soon as energy prices change, for example because of the rainy season in China, the miners move.
In other words, when BTC miners move, they are offline and therefore unable to contribute to the Bitcoin hashrate.
Moving to North America?
In other countries where Bitcoin is mined, environmental factors do not necessarily play such a big role compared to China.
As a result of this relative instability, some Chinese miners are eager to relocate their operations. “Core Scientific is working with several Chinese players to move part of their fleet to North America as our performance is stable and does not change significantly over the course of the year,” said Kulyk.
In the United States, Bitcoin miners also benefit from more stable regulatory policies, according to Kulyk.
Regulatory policies are far more stable in North America and can accelerate the digital asset space as changing attitudes about digital asset mining and the sector are a national security priority.
Over the course of 2020, China’s dominance in Bitcoin mining has waned somewhat, although it still controls a sizable chunk of Bitcoin’s hashrate. The local mining industry has been partially restricted by the authorities. Access to subsidized electricity was blocked in some regions after a report found that Bitcoin mining “has nothing to do with the real economy”.
Bitcoin Difficulty Adjustment will help
So there is currently no need to worry about the security of Bitcoin. The hashrate is still extremely high and secures the network sufficiently. However, it must currently be expected that Bitcoin blocks will now be found more slowly because the difficulty has not yet adjusted. This can currently lead to higher transaction fees and longer waiting times.
As soon as the difficulty has adjusted, this will also motivate other miners to get into Bitcoin mining. The game theory behind Bitcoin still works excellently. In addition, the hashrate should normalize again after the miners have moved.