SHA-256 Crypto Mining Hashrate Saw Major Boost In Past Year Despite Bear Market Prices
A Matter of Hash – Mining Hashware, SHA-256 Climbed Significantly Over This Year
Mining was never easy, otherwise everyone would do it, while that's not so much common knowledge anymore in the conventional sense, it's far more of a wisdom generally accepted by cryptocurrency miners, especially when it comes to the hashrate associated with the process.
One in particular is a standout, that being SHA-256 mining, the process more commonly known to take place when searching for new blocks within Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) networks. This system of mining, along with a whole other segment of crypto mining, has become increasingly challenging over the course of this year.
With the past eight months, the cryptocurrency market has been in a state of relative decline, as coins struggle to breach their previously accepted strong bottom supports after a third correction. But while the market has been under the pall of a bearish market, the same has certainly not been true of the process of mining.
Instead of pulling back in the same way as the cryptocurrency market as a whole, the mining that goes on behind the scenes has picked up in pace and aggressiveness.
The SHA-256 Mining Process Has Grown at a Considerably Fast Rate Over This Year
Much like any other extensively used computer algorithm used within mining operations, the SHA-256 process pertains to a whole process of computing devices verifying and compiling recent blockchain transactions. This works alongside having to discover and solve major computational problems in order to ‘earn' the block in question.
Miners who find a block are awarded freshly minted cryptocurrencies and all the fees associated with the transactions in the block. This incentivized system has grown significantly competitive which in turn has innovated both semiconductor production and a significant advancement in Exascale computing.
Over the course of the last few months this year, the underlying value of various cryptocurrencies has decreased at a far faster pace than before, taking the likes of Ethereum to all-time lows for the year. In spite of this, where hash power would decrease as demand fell, mining operations have become increasingly extensive and intensive. Overall, this same area of cryptocurrency has only grown more feverishly large over the year.
Over the Year, Bitcoin Cash's Network Hashrate Increased Four Times
Within the space of this month, the Bitcoin Cash Network reported that approximately 4.13 exahashes per second were being captured over the course of the week. On average, these exahashes are leveraged at approximately 4. Right now there’s been over 65,000 BCH blocks mined since August 1, 2017, and the chain is over 6,600 blocks ahead of the bitcoin core (BTC) chain.
According to reports on Sunday the 19th of August, the BCH chain was operating at roughly 9.87% of BTC's overall block difficulty. Comparing these results to last August, the hashrate has increased exponentially, with the underlying diversity of the mining pools having been irrevocably changed as well. For example, in August 2017, there were only a select number of mining pools processing blocks for Bitcoin Cash, these consisted of Viabtc, Bitcoin.com and unknown mining pools within Hong Kong.
If we compare these same figures to August 21, many other miners joined the BCH network such as Bitclub, Antpool, Batpool, and BTC.com bringing the BCH hashpower up to approximately 2 exahash.
The Number of BCH Mining Pools and New Leaders Are Contributing
If we compare this to just one year later, and Bitcoin Cash has exploded when it comes to the number of mining pools there are, consisting of ones such as Coingeek, BMG Pool, Rawpool, BTC.com, Viabtc, Antpool, Bitcoin.com, BTC.top, Sbi Crypto, F2pool, Huobi and a number of unknown ones.
Over these 12 months, mining power has shifted and changed hands from the previously unknown mining pools to those that operate as more of a known quantity, with these unknown pools and Viabtc dominating the hashrate. Now the biggest mining pool over the last seven days is Coingeek with 23.4 percent of the network hashrate over the last week and 31.9 percent today.
In August 2017, between what would often fluctuate between 2-3 unknown mining pools, they would collectively make up 20% of the total mining hashpower for Bitcoin Cash. The following top BCH miners include BMG Pool (10%), Rawpool (9.8%), BTC.com (8%), Viabtc (6.7%), and Antpool (6.5%).
There also are other mining pools such as F2Pool or GMO Group, both of which has served as mining operations for Bitcoin Cash from at least the beginning of last year. Essentially since the first week of August 2017, the BCH hashrate has grown fourfold and a lot more miners are processing BCH blocks.
Bitcoin Core's Overall Hashrate Increased to 48 Exhash Per Second
Now, when it comes the intensity of mining on the Bitcoin Core network, it reported that its hashpower has increased dramatically when compared to August 2017. Within the second week of August 2017, BTC's hashrate stood at anywhere from 6-8 Exhash per second, but has since seen this increase by a staggering 500%.
What this increase equates to is a final hashrate of 48 Exhash per second. Overall, hashrate distribution has changed significantly within the BTC mining world, especially now considering there are over 16 different mining pools.
Currently, there is one unknown mining pool that is responsible for 13.3 percent of the BTC network. Meanwhile, the top BTC mining pools have also shifted quite a bit with the largest pool being BTC.com (16.6%) followed by pools such as Antpool (14.6%), unknown (13.3%), BTC.top (12.3%), and Slush Pool (11%).
One of the Record Highs This Month: The Use of Overt Asic Boost
There's one characteristic that proves highly interesting, and that's the use of overt ‘version rolling' Asic boost on the BTC network, this is a trend that has increased since the Blockchain Defensive Patent License (BDPL) initiative was put forward in March 2018.
Whether its use is covert or overt, this method of version rolling asic boost has the potential to increase mining efficiency by 20 to 30 percent. So far since March, the use of overt Asic Boost had crossed roughly 5 percent of the entire BTC network on August 1, 2018.
As of August 13th, the network touch around 4.4% of all blocks found using this Asic boost method, and currently the average sits at around 3%. Out of those using this method, Slush Pool has proven the most effective at finding blocks through the BTC network while using Asic Boost (40%). Meanwhile, F2Pool is a close second behind Slush Pool (20%).
Among those mining pools that utilize this same method of Asic Boost include Ckpool, Bitclub, Bitfury, Wayi.cn, Poolin, and an unknown miner. In contrast, the unknown mining pools control roughly 11% of all overt ‘version rolling' Asic Boost blocks located on the network.
Semiconductor Technology is Storming Ahead, Thanks to World's Largest Computational Systems.
So what does all of this information mean? Effectively, it means that SHA-256 has become one of the most powerful computational systems in the world, and it's not done when it comes to development.
It's aiming to further the initial ambition of Satoshi to create an incentivized system that processes and verifies transactions. It's also pushed the metaphorical envelope when it comes to semiconductor and MOSFET Innovation.
SHA-256 mining has excelled in the creation of 10nm and 7nm chips which were one year behind schedule according to Moore’s Law. The chips in particular and the companies that developed highly powerful mining equipment such as the B3 from GMO, Innosilicon’s T2-Turbo (24TH/s), and Canaan’s newly introduced Avalonminer A9 (26.5-30TH/s) all have the potential to harness SHA-256 and truly push its boundaries in terms of effectiveness.
While the markets may appear to be in the middle of a bearish trend, but the mining equipment and work that's going towards extracting them appears not to be slowing at all, but actually accelerating and becoming ever more intensive.