May 10, 2024 - Economy

Charted: 😌 Bitcoin difficulty

The line chart shows the daily Bitcoin difficulty level from April 1 to May 9, 2024, with a noticeable increase from 83 trillion to 88 trillion in mid-April, and a drop to 85 trillion on May 9.
Data: CoinWarz; Chart: Axios Visuals

Speaking of energy, it looks like the power demanded by the Bitcoin network has dropped a bit.

The big picture: The Bitcoin halving on April 20 dropped the revenue for miners in half all at once.

  • This typically leads to an immediate wind down in operations for some of the oldest bitcoin mining machines, because they are no longer worth running.

Bitcoin difficulty is a measure of how hard Bitcoin makes it to win a block. It is indirectly a measure of how much machine power is securing the network.

  • Bitcoin difficulty increased after the halving (which hasn't happened before), suggesting that more machines were coming online and none were leaving.
  • This was because there was a transaction fee bonanza that took place as the Runes protocol for Bitcoin tokens debuted — then flamed out fast.

The latest: Bitcoin difficulty only adjusts every 10 days. Here at the second adjustment since the halving, it looks like some machines have been switched off. It's back to pre-halving levels.

  • Things are starting to make sense again.

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