After briefly falling below 230 PH/s last month, miners have sent Bitcoin’s total network hashrate to nearly 400 PH/s.
One PH/s, or petahash per second, is equal to 1,000 trillion hashes (encryption procedures) generated each second.
The sudden drop in January was likely due to a slew of hardware coming offline, caught off guard by rapidly declining bitcoin prices at the time, and thereby rendering mining operations unprofitable.
The approach to 400 PH/s is its highest ever, more than 12-times the hashrate from 12 months ago.
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More efficient hardware has now evolved and come online, gradually replacing predecessors. The advances in efficiency have been enough to outpace the decline in bitcoin prices, which has slowed since the crash in January.
In general, the evolution of hardware was also enough to increase the hashrate by over 30-fold in 2014 despite price declines of over 70%. Indeed, the mining business was a lucrative one earlier on in the year, but margins tightened as prices declined and equilibrium was revisited.
The February jump has entailed an increase in the mining difficulty to over 44,400,000,000, just barely passing the previous high. The next scheduled adjustment is anticipated to bring it to near 47,000,000,000.