That’s a conservative estimate of how much electricity the Bitcoin network consumes each day. The lead engine from the photo above can produce that amount of power in about an hour.
Earlier today the difficulty threshold for generating bitcoins went from 36460 to 55590. The difficulty readjusts every 2,016 blocks and today this happened at block 110,880.
This puts the hashing strength of the entire Bitcoin network at roughly 398 Ghash/second using the new difficulty measurement. Early calculations for the next adjustment indicate a similar sized jump yet again. Higher hashing strength for the network results in a lower likelihood of a block being solved by a miner’s computing hardware.
The rate of increase at each difficulty adjustment had plataued for a while but these last two spikes, 40% and then 55% on top of that, over a period of 20 days, are absolutely astounding.
Bitcoin Pooled Mining (BPM) now accounts for over 80+ Ghash/s, about a third larger than the level at the last difficulty change.
Additionally, the DeepBit pool is now in public beta. BitPenny is closed yet but will likely be reopening soon.
Continued follow-on interest resulting from the dollar parity-related news and attention received earlier this month.
A source who wishes to remain anonymous claims to know of a massive, multi-thousand CPU computing cluster that has been purposed for mining bitcoins during its off-peak periods.
While these increases may be difficult to repeat regularly, levels near those seen in the last two bursts likely will continue as many of those interested enough to purchase hardware are just now bringing their new computing power online.
Unfortunately for them the profitability from mining has dropped significantly as the result of the increased difficulty level. Hopes of a quick ROI will be fleeting, unless the BTC/USD market rate rises again.
[Editor’s note: The original math was wrong. The total draw was estimated to be about 250 kWh, which totals about 6 mWh per day.].
Written on 27 Feb 2011.