The network calculates how difficult it is to mine Bitcoin—or how much computational power is required to earn Bitcoin—according to the supply and demand of miners. The more miners online, the more competition there is among them to confirm a block (and earn the reward), which ultimately makes mining harder.
At the same time, analysis by YCharts reveals that Bitcoin’s hash rate, which is best understood as the computational power of the network, is currently at 213 EH/s—close to its all-time high of 248 EH/s, set on February 12 this year.
Taken together, the two metrics highlight the fact that mining has never been more popular, or more distributed around the world, than it is at this very moment. This augurs well for the network as a whole, as it means that the network has also never been more secure.
Still, the price of the leading cryptocurrency continues to drag, with Bitcoin dropping 7.2% over the past seven days. It’s currently trading just above $40,400, as per CoinMarketCap.
The politics of Bitcoin mining
Given the fact that Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive operation, decisions taken by politicians regarding Bitcoin mining have a very direct impact on the Bitcoin network.
Consider last summer, when the network’s mining difficulty dropped 28% in one day after the Chinese government began closing crypto mining farms all across the country.
Up until then, China had been the heaviest lifter in terms of Bitcoin mining by far.
Since China’s crackdown, the U.S. became the clear leader in Bitcoin mining, commanding a market share of 35.4% as of the end of last year.
However, many Chinese mining operations crossed the border after China’s crackdown and set up shop in Kazakhstan. They account for nearly 20% of Bitcoin mining in the world.