Difficulty: 109,670, Total network hashing: 785 Ghash/sec
The recent difficulty threshold for generating bitcoins went from 92,348 to 109,670, representing an 18.75% increase in just under 12 days. The difficulty readjusts every 2,016 blocks and today this happened when block 120,960 was reached.
The hashing strength of the entire Bitcoin network is now at roughly 785 Ghash/second using the new difficulty measurement. Early calculations for the next adjustment indicate continued rapid growth however with nearly two weeks left before that happens there’s little certainty as to what level will be reached.
It is quite possible though that difficulty will increase another 20% or more, especially considering the recent spike in the BTC/USD market rate.
A higher total network hashing strength allows there to be greater trust that an attacker cannot control, exclude or modify the ordering of transactions processed as the result of mining activity.
Supplies of certain models of GPU hardware desired by miners, such as the ATI Radeon HD 5870 and 5970, are low or sold out now that the manufacturer no longer produces them. At the same time, supplies for the latest high-end graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 6990 remain tight.
Miners not using the high-end hardware, most of whom who already are in pools, are finding that their existing mining capacity yields less and less with each jump in difficulty.
Nearly every CPU mining configuration will, on average, consume more electricity than can be bought using the value of the bitcoins yielded by the mining, though a common characteristic for those who persist mining on CPUs is that they do not pay for the electricity costs … at least not directly.
There are currently five public mining pools in operation and multiple private pools.
Written on 30 Apr 2011.