Ethereum’s hashrate has fallen to its lowest level since 2017, down 23% to 140 terahashes from 180, and down more than 50% since the August peak of close to 300.
Miners have been leaving the network for the past six months as eth’s price crashed by 93% from a high of $1,400 to now $120.
In addition, the ice age has kicked-in which increases ethereum’s mining difficulty and thus makes it more difficult to produce a block.
It now takes 21 seconds for a block to be mined, up from the usual 15 seconds. That has reduced earnings for miners from about $2.4 million a day to $1.5 million as new supply has fallen from 20,000 eth to ◊13,000.
That probably means quite a few eth miners are operating at a loss, especially hobby miners who usually have high energy costs.
It might also mean that any asics deployment is not being seen as you’d expect a significant hash jump, rather than a continuous fall.
Alternatively any deployed asic might be only marginally efficient, thus not reflecting on the chart as their produced hash might not be significant.
Ethereum’s hashrate might potentially continue to fall due to the onset of the ice age. That’s a protocol level algorithm that gradually increases mining difficulty, starting slowly and exponentially.
The difficulty bomb is to be delayed for 12 months once the Constantinople upgrade goes live potentially by the end of the month. A third bug has been found, however, so that might delay its deployment.
If it is delayed, then new supply might fall to perhaps ◊8,000 with block times rising to maybe 30-40 seconds prior to Constantinople’s eventual deployment perhaps in March.
How that would affect the hashrate is not clear, but the system self adjusts based on eth’s price. So if the reduced supply increases the price, then the hash might increase too due to eth becoming more profitable to mine.
Once the Metropolis upgrade does go through, then the difficulty returns to normal while new supply will still be reduced from ◊20,000 to circa ◊13,400.
Bitcoin, in contrast, has seen its hash rise recently after a significant fall during the onset of winter.
This hash growth in BTC is despite some claiming it now costs $4,000 to mine a bitcoin. It would thus make more sense to just buy BTC directly, rather than mine it.
That however does not take into account individuals or states who produce energy and/or get it for free.
One such state might be Venezuela where there are reports the army confiscates bitcoin asics and uses them to mine BTC.
Another one might be Iran where there were suggestions last year the government there could mine bitcoin itself with some new mining farms apparently being established in the country.
Bitcoin’s hash thus is now nor far off from its peak despite its 87% price fall from $20,000 to $3,500.