Bitcoin’s mining difficulty hit an all-time high today after a roughly 6% increase, a move that follows a record month in earnings for Bitcoin miners as new-generation ASICs come online.
“Difficulty” refers to the relative measure of the amount of resources required to mine bitcoin. This measurement climbs or falls depending on the amount of power consumed (or “hashrate” produced) by the network at a given time. Bitcoin is programmed to adjust its difficulty level every 2,016 blocks, or roughly every 2 weeks to ensure that new blocks are mined at a stable rate.
This difficulty is measured on a relative scoring scale where Bitcoin launched with a mining difficulty of “1,” the lowest it’s ever been. (Difficulty kind of works like Google Search scores in that the scoring system is internal and has no reference point or unit for measurement outside of the networks themselves).
As of today’s adjustment, Bitcoin’s current mining difficulty is 23.1 trillion, according to data pulled from this CoinDesk journalist’s Bitcoin node. Per figures from BTC.com, this is a roughly 6% increase from its last level of 21.8 trillion, which makes it the second largest adjustment of the year and the fifth upward adjustment in the last six difficulty periods.
The difficulty adjustment is arguably one of Bitcoin’s most important features as it ensures block times remain relatively stable while also preventing a large miner