30-day difficulty growth of Bitcoin mining network cools to mere 0.5% growth per day
Behind the roaring growth of Bitcoin mining is the unassuming ASIC, or application specific integrated circuit. Since ASICs were first introduced to mine Bitcoin in 2013, we have seen the difficulty of Bitcoin mining take leaps forward as chips have become more powerful and more efficient.
A single ASIC-based miner today can pack more hash-power than the entire Bitcoin network had before ASICs were first introduced. To date in 2014 we have seen ASICs turbocharge the network difficulty forward nearly thirty times from the 1.4 billion it stood on January 5th, to the 40 billion at which it stands today.
In light of the tremendous growth Bitcoin mining has had behind it, this November marks a new milestone: the monthly daily average growth of the bitcoin network has dipped below half a percentage a day.
Check out this graph, complied by bitcoin.sipa.be, which shows the average daily growth rate of the Bitcoin network slowly but surely cool down from a blistering 2% (every day!) to a more moderated 0.5% growth per day that we see now.
This is good news for miners wanting to predict how much their miners will make, as earlier this year, the network would grow more than 40% in a month (meaning in one-month, you'd earn 40% less Bitcoin per day) while now it's projected to grow 9% or less monthly.
So what does all this mean? Bitcoin mining is maturing, it has been transformed from a get-rick-quick gamble to a predictable enterprise albeit with lower margins.
Petamine, a mining co-op which was vigorous as late as this summer is sputtering in the face of increased competition. The Belgium-based mine gets its electricity from expensive wind and solar, and since it’s published its numbers, it has been revealed that 90% of its profits are now being used to cover its costs.
Clearly, miners who have access to cheap power in places like Iceland, Venezuela, Kuwait, and Washington are growing at the expense of miners established in places where they’re paying more than 10 cents/kwh for power, the cost of which is increasingly seen as prohibitive.
Are these new changes in the ecosystem permanent?
While the Bitcoin mining network may be snoozing right now, over $100M in venture funding has poured into Bitcoin-related startups which are working to develop applications that make it easy enough that your grandmother could use Bitcoin.