Bitcoin’s total network hash rate has just spiked to over one thousand PH/s (1 PH = 10^15 hashes, or encryption procedures) for the first time in the cryptocurrency’s history. This is the first time ever the hash rate has crossed the one quintillion, 10^18 or one exahash per second benchmark.
This new hash rate record can be seen as a strong signal from miners, that regardless of the recent price crash as well as talks of civil war within the community bitcoin and the failure of the experiment, they are still very much committed to holding up the network. It is most likely caused by a massive new mining center coming online or a new generation of mining hardware going live on a large scale for the first time.
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Mining is the process of adding transaction records to the blockchain, a critical service for bitcoin that miners are compensated for with transaction fees and newly generated coins. Thus the total hash rate gravitates towards an equilibrium of slight profitability for network participants. High profitability brings more equipment into the network until the increasing difficulty makes it no longer profitable to do so. Conversely, when prices unexpectedly drop, hardware may depart the network until slight profitability is restored.
It should be noted that the reported hash rate is just an estimation based on the current difficulty levels and the rate of solved blocks by miners. Nevertheless, as we have seen before a spike is often a prelude to what will become the new short-term norm.