Price might be falling, but miners are still plugging in. That’s the takeaway from Bitcoin mining’s fourth quarter as the residual effects from the China hashrate migration continue to ripple out among the industry. Mining remains profitable for the majority of the network – excluding some Antminer S7 hardware – and will continue to be in the short term, regardless of Bitcoin’s price correction.
In this article, we’ll break down the 2021’s last quarter with three metrics: hashrate, hashrate by miner type and miner revenue.
As Bitcoin’s price fell, hashrate continued to rise. Trailing Bitcoin’s price, the network’s hashrate reached a record high last quarter of 173 exahash over a 30-day moving average.
And while Bitcoin price corrected, shedding some 29% from its $69,000 November high, hashrate continued to join the network. After a year of hashrate migrations and chip shortages, the Bitcoin network still finds a way to entice people to mine.
Percent of hashrate by miner type
Miners began firing up Antminer S7s – an older, less efficient ASIC – as Bitcoin’s price approached all-time highs this October. The reasoning here is that they started to become profitable again. As profitability fell, S7s left the network. This indicates more efficient miners are starting to gain market share as revenue subsides. S9s seem to be holding their ground.
Miner revenue per terahash – a measurement of how much a miner can earn based on the amount of hashrate given to the network – dropped last quarter when denominated in either bitcoin or dollars. Decreasing miner revenue is correlated with higher network difficulty, which increased consistently over the last three months.
Miner revenue denominated in satoshis decreased with each new difficulty adjustment whereas miner revenue in USD fluctuated based on Bitcoin price. It therefore remained sideways until Bitcoin’s November correction.