A bitcoin mine near Kongyuxiang, Sichuan, China on August 12, 2016.
Paul Ratje | The Washington Post | Getty Images
It just became a whole lot easier and much more profitable to mine for bitcoin.
The world has known for months that more than half the world’s bitcoin miners would be going dark as China cracked down on mining. Now that it’s happened, the bitcoin algorithm has adjusted accordingly to make sure miner productivity doesn’t continue to fall off a cliff.
That adjustment – which took effect early Saturday morning – also means that way more cash is going to the bitcoin miners who remain online.
“This will be a revenue party for miners,” said bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi.
“They suddenly own a meaningfully larger piece of the pie, meaning they earn more bitcoin every day.”
Mining made easier
A bitcoin miner runs a program on a computer to try to solve a puzzle before anyone else does. Solving that puzzle is what completes a block, a process that both creates new bitcoin and updates the digital ledger keeping track of all bitcoin transactions.
China had long been the epicenter of bitcoin miners, with past estimates indicating that 65% to 75% of the world’s bitcoin mining happened there, but a government-led crackdown has effectively banished the country’s crypto miners.
“For the first time in the bitcoin network’s history, we have a complete shutdown of mining in a targeted