The mining difficulty of the network dropped by 27.9% as the Bitcoin network adjusted to the massive drop in hash rate. This represents the biggest drop in mining difficulty since the network went live in 2009.
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The Bitcoin network updates its mining difficulty level every 2,016 blocks, roughly every two weeks. This is designed to ensure that blocks are produced every ten minutes despite a fluctuating hash rate.
Since the previous adjustment on June 13, Bitcoin’s seven-day moving average hashrate has dropped from 136.47 EH/s to 85 EH/s. This means a 35% decrease.
This was largely due to pressures on Bitcoin mining in China, causing the hash rate to migrate as operations seek mining-friendly sites elsewhere. This record drop came at a much higher rate than anticipated a week ago.
This low hashrate resulted in a slower block generation rate as the remaining hashrate could not keep up with the high difficulty level. Over the past two weeks, on average, a block has been produced almost every 13.9 minutes. This is a much higher time frame than it should be.
In fact, on July 1, it took 129 minutes to form a block. This has been the longest time to create a block since 2011. However, it is worth noting that multiple factors come into play here, including the natural variance in block times.