On Wednesday, Bitcoin’s hash rate was shown to have fallen by half its usual levels, or around 10,995,773 TH/s. Usually, BTC is mined at more than 24 million TH/s. The anomaly is not shown by all blockchain explorers, but is most prominent on the Bitinfo charts.
So far, the mining of Bitcoin has grown almost exponentially, as new hardware comes on board in 2018. But since the expensive ASIC machines are centralized, the loss of such significant hashing power may speak of the withdrawal of a large mining entity.
The Bitcoin network shows just around 600 pending transactions, a negligible backlog after months of congestion. But a recent error on CoinDance shows a mistaken block height from a couple of days ago, with no updating.
The BTC market price has also been depressed, sinking toward $6,800 in the past days. If the drop in mining turns out to be permanent, and not just a technical anomaly, this may draw the interest of investors. Also, the market dominance of Bitcoin is sinking again, below 44%, as altcoin get back on their feet while the leading coin depreciates.
In the past months, mining has become more centralized, due to the advent of ASIC machines. A similar fate happened to Monero, which saw its mining drop by 80%, revealing how much of the mining was done by ASIC, and not by secretly injected CoinHive miners.
Bitcoin Mining is Centralized
In recent months, the influence of Bitmain increased. The producer of the Antminer machines usually delays deliveries, and keeps many machines for its own mining operations. Thus, some Bitcoin supporters believe Bitmain is capable of a 51% attack at any moment, because it owns more than 51% of the hashing power.
Such an attack would spell the end of a crypto coin, which would lose its credibility as a preserver of correct balances.
Recently, Bitmain released the X3 miner for CryptoNote coins, as well as the E3 miner designed for the hash function of Ethereum. So far, the Ethereum project has not given signs of changing its hashing algorithm, thus opening the doors to adding ASIC machines, and displacing the GPU miners.
Recently, the Verge project became the target of rogue mining, producing accelerated blocks with a faked timestamp exploit. However, this was not related to exceptionally high mining power.
But because mining is seen as a fair process, any glitches or troubles are seriously affecting the image of the network.