Following Bitcoin's bi-weekly difficulty adjustment, mining difficulty has increased by 8.87 percent today, sitting at 19.16 T—4.4 percent lower than its difficulty all-time high, which was recorded in October this year.
The hash rate is the measure of computational power that is being allocated to mine the leading cryptocurrency, while difficulty describes the algorithmic difficulty that miners have in finding a block. The difficulty is dynamically adjusted to ensure that each bitcoin block takes around ten minutes to mine.
The adjustment follows a strong recovery in the network's hash rate over the last couple of weeks. After a hash rate record of around 157 exahashes per second in October, according to information from BitInfoCharts, the hash rate experienced a rapid drop below 100 exahashes per second just days later. The hash rate loss was widely attributed to miners in China's Sichuan province relocating their machines at the end of the region's rainy season.
The decline was short-lived, however, as by this week, the hash rate recorded values just shy of the network's all-time high.
The Bitcoin mining industry has seen developments on the nation-state level this year.
In September, Kazakhstan's digital development minister announced the country's plans to reinforce the country's economy by expanding its crypto mining sector with a 300 billion tenges (approximately $715 million USD) investment.
The Iranian government made headlines multiple times this year, the latest of which came when the Iranian cabinet reportedly amended regulations to allow for imports to be funded with bitcoin. The new regulation entails that bitcoin mined in the country can only be sold for fiat currency when they are used to finance imports.
Kazakhstan and Iran currently host 6.17 and 3.82 percent respectively of the global Bitcoin hash rate, according to the Bitcoin mining map maintained by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. The U.S., too has caught up in recent months, with over seven percent of the global hash rate now located in the country—a significant increase from just over four percent in Q3 last year.
BlackRock Funds "May Engage" in Bitcoin Futures, SEC Filing Suggests
Dozens of Sites Host Bitcoin White Paper Following Craig Wright Legal Threats
CoinDesk Adds Fuel to Tether FUD
Agustin Carstens: Bitcoin "May Well Break Down Altogether"
Institutional Investors Predict Bitcoin Will Reach $115,000 to $400,000
Bitcoin Mempool Stays Cool as Payment Numbers Pass 2017 Record