People who have been paying close attention to the overall hashrate pointed to the Bitcoin network will have noticed the numbers increased by 50% over the past week. Part of this growth can be attributed to the new BitFury data center in Georgia, which makes use of the country’s cheaper energy solutions to bring additional mining hardware online. Some people are worried about the number of network blocks being generated right now, but there is no real reason to worry just yet.
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Higher Hashrate Equals More Bitcoin Blocks
When hardware mining manufacturers deploy their own machines on a large scale, a major upwards bump regarding overall Bitcoin hash power is to be expected. That being said, a near 50% hashpower increase in just a few days is not something that happens every day, and it has some community members worried.
According to a Reddit post, the new BitFury mining chip is the culprit in this scenario, due to its increased efficiency and overall mining power. If push would come to shove, BitFury might be in line for a 51% attack on the Bitcoin network, assuming they use their own centralized mining pool to do all of the hard work. One thing people tend to forget is mining hardware manufacturers are well aware of these potential issues, and will do everything they can to prevent a 51% attack.
However, there is one worrying statistic, which puts the current Bitcoin block time at slightly over five minutes on average. In a normal scenario, blocks are found roughly every ten minutes, but now, things are happening at an accelerated pace. Granted, the Bitcoin difficulty will need to adjust, which only happens once every 2,160 blocks.
So far, there does not seem to be a reason to panic just yet, as there are questions regarding how the total hashrate on the Bitcoin network is generated. Statistics on Blockchain.info show a spike getting close to 975 Petahash while the current network speed sits at roughly 765 Petahash. Even though this latter number is still fairly high, it’s not as dramatic as the statistics indicate.
Additionally, the same mining pools as before are founding the Bitcoin blocks, even though this is taking place at an accelerated pace. There is no mystery pool popping up “stealing” all of the blocks from other Bitcoin miners, making the 51% attack threat non-existent. O the other hand, these types of warnings are a positive trend, as they will let the entire bitcoin community know something big is happening.
Once the Bitcoin mining difficulty adjusts again – which will take place somewhere in the next 96 hours – the true effect of this increased hashpower on the network will become visible. Miners should brace themselves for a major difficulty increase, though, as finding Bitcoins on the network will become even more difficult than it was before.