As the price of bitcoin is nearing all-time highs yet again this year, the difficulty of mining the digital currency is also increasing at a very rapid pace. As of a few minutes ago, the difficulty metric on Bitcoin’s blockchain network spiked 7.43 percent to an all-time high of 422,170,566,884, according to statistics site BitcoinWisdom.com.
In layman's terms, today’s difficulty spike essentially means that all miners will now receive less of the digital currency than before the difficulty increase, making bitcoin even more scarce.
The previous jump, which took place on January 22, 2017, was a whopping 16.64 percent. The difficulty adjusts on the Bitcoin network every 2016 blocks (roughly every 14 days).
Since the start of 2017, there have been a total of three difficulty spikes that amount to 30.12 percent.
Bitcoin mining has become extremely competitive over the last two years, especially in countries with cheap electricity rates like China. Mining data centers have even sprung up in countries undergoing severe economic crises such as Venezuela.
Last week, authorities in Venezuela busted a mining farm with 11,000 bitcoin mining devices for using up excessive amounts of electricity.
The race to mine the digital currency is set to become even more extreme this year.
Software industry pioneers like John McAfee, who currently heads MGT Capital Investments’ bitcoin mining operations in central Washington, said in October of last year that his mining farm is aiming to substantially increasing its bitcoin mining capacity:
“At our current output, we believe MGT is one of the top five Bitcoin miners in the U.S., and we believe our first quarter 2017 goal of 10 PetaHash for this facility would place MGT in a leadership position in the global Bitcoin network.”Bitcoin graphic by Tiger Pixel