The bitcoin network currently is heavily congested with average fees rising as an unknown amount of hashpower is turned off in Sichuan, the world’s bitcoin mining capital.
The electricity supply for at least the 26 biggest mining farms there was shut off just a few minutes ago at midnight Shanghai time.
Since then, no block has yet been found as the network operates at a lower hash, but the same difficulty.
Difficulty as you might know is an algorithmic measure set every two weeks that aims to maintain an equation of global hash times ten minutes equals block found.
According to blockchain data, difficulty has dropped by 10%, suggesting prior to the shut off there was a 10% hash fall.
What’s happened since is subjects to estimates with those estimates themselves based on how many blocks are found and in what amount of time.
Until blocks start rolling, therefore, we won’t quite know just what exactly happened or is happening in Sichuan.
Bitcoin network stats, June 2021
We’ll update once a block is found with this situation not unusual as there have been many occasions when a block is not found for an hour, but it remains to be seen how long this one will take.
This slow transaction processing is to continue for at least nine days, at which point the difficulty re-adjusts to target 10 minute blocks based on the global hashrate in nine days.
Some miners moreover are viedoed leaving, so at least some of this hash will come back on, perhaps outside of China depending on how long the migration takes.
Update: A bitcoin block has now just been found by ViaBTC one hour and 11 minutes after the F2Pool block. So suggesting the situation is not in any way serious with the bitcoin network expected to move slowly than usual in the next nine days, but it will keep moving and then adjust to the usual ten minutes block times.
Further Update: Another three blocks, all within ten minutes, have been found since the ViaBTC block above, suggesting the bitcoin network might experience only some annoyance at best with it expected to run as usual overall.
That also might indicate that perhaps not that much hash has been shut down, with our previous estimate being Sichuan has about 30% of the global hash.
However much of it has been shut off prior to today with the global hash falling to a yearly low. Only those that left it to the last minute therefore may have been affected, with it estimates that around 40% of the global hash that was in China has been gradually turned off over the past month since May 14th, leaving the bitcoin network generally unaffected in a technically smooth transition as far as global bitcoin is concerned.