By David Pan
fter posting solid gains in January, a key measure of competition among bitcoin miners has stagnated in the past two weeks as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts economic activity in China.
The slowdown in the growth of so-called mining difficulty signals miners have had to pause upgrading equipment after the epidemic prompted Chinese authorities to impose a quarantine and major mining equipment makers delayed production and shipments.
Mining difficulty – which gauges the effort required to solve math problems in order to win newly created bitcoin – adjusted on Feb. 11 to a level 0.52 percent higher than 14 days earlier, data show. That’s a significant drop from the growth rates of 4.67 and 7.08 percent, recorded on Jan. 28 and 14, respectively.
Bitcoin is designed for the difficulty to adjust roughly every two weeks, depending on the amount of computing power connected to the network. When more miners join the race to earn newly created bitcoin, the difficulty rises; when miners drop out, the measure eases.