Home Blockchain Record-high Hash Rates and Mining Difficulty Pushed Miners to Sell BTC: Compass Mining

Record-high Hash Rates and Mining Difficulty Pushed Miners to Sell BTC: Compass Mining

Record-high Hash Rates and Mining Difficulty Pushed Miners to Sell BTC: Compass Mining

Jimmy Aki

Last updated:

| 2 min read

Mining Difficulty
Bitcoin miners were forced to liquidate large portions of their Bitcoin holdings to cover operational expenses due to the surge in hash rates and mining difficulty, according to data from Compass Mining published on January 26.

In its annual review of the Bitcoin mining ecosystem, Compass Mining highlighted that the older blockchain witnessed a major increase in its hash rate throughout 2023.

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Surges Over 100%

Providing context, the mining company stated that the hash rate commenced the year at 266 EH/s, with mining experts anticipating a year-end range of 350 to 375 EH/s.

This figure nearly doubled as Bitcoin hash rates closed the year at 542EH/s, however, reaching a 103% increase in 2023. Consequently, there was a similar increase in the Bitcoin mining metric even as miners increased their hash rate.

Bitcoin mining difficulty rides on the premise wherein the more miners work to solve the cryptographic puzzle in validating transactions, the higher the metric rises, and it works vice-versa.

Zooming in on this detail, Compass Mining stated that the global Bitcoin mining difficulty rate started the year 2023 at 35 T and concluded at 72 T, representing more than a 100% increase in a 12-month window.

The increase in the mining difficulty ensured that new blocks were only added at the fixed 10-minute time frame.

Given the exponential increase in hash rate and mining difficulty, Bitcoin miners saw their holdings dip as they were compelled to sell a substantial amount of the BTCs.

According to Compass Mining, mining giants like Marathon Digital and Hut 8 Corp were forced to deflate their Bitcoin portfolio to pay for operational and capital growth.

Others like Bitdeer, Iris Energy, and Terawulf sold their earned Bitcoins daily to meet their expansion needs and used their share dilution to cover growth.

Iris Energy, for instance, saw its hash rate needs rise from 1.7 EH/s to 5.6 EH/s within six months, marking a 273% increase in that time frame.

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Spurred Innovation in Energy-efficiency

The crypto ecosystem experienced a mixed season in 2023, with bears holding sway for the majority of the period.

However, despite the challenging conditions, the highly anticipated Bitcoin halving event, which reduces the amount of Bitcoin mining rewards, spurred several companies to ramp up production.

One notable example is Marathon Digital, which has witnessed an astonishing 11,000% increase in its Bitcoin mining operations over the past years. This remarkable growth has enabled the mining firm to boost its hash rate to an impressive 23 EH/s, setting a remarkable feat in the industry.

The path to this success has not been without its challenges, however, as highlighted by Compass Mining. To sustain their operations, most Bitcoin mining companies strategically implemented energy-saving measures, such as ERCOT’s 4 Coincident Peaks (4CP) program.

This strategy allowed them to reduce their energy usage in peak mining seasons like June, July, August, and September to save on transmission costs.

The ERCOT program enabled mining companies to enter lower-cost energy purchase agreements to foster cost-effective Bitcoin mining operations. As a result, mining firms were able to secure energy at rates as low as $5 per mWh used.

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