Hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin miners have halted operations over the past two weeks, according to one of the largest mining pools in the world.
In an interview with industry website Coindesk, Mao Shixing, founder of F2pool, said that between 600,000 and 800,000 miners have shut down since mid-November, a period that has been very difficult for the original cryptocurrency, as well as for the wider crypto market. F2pool, which is the third-largest mining pool in the world, based its estimate on the total network hashrate drop and the average hash power of older mining machines that are struggling to remain profitable, Coindesk noted. The website also pointed to data from blockchain.info showing that from November 10 to November 24 the Bitcoin network’s total hashrate had declined nearly 13%.
According to Mao, drop is likely driven by miners using older equipment such as the Antminer T9+ made by Bitmain and AvalonMiner 741 by Canaan Creative. Mao also said that his company had seen a decline of around 10% in the hashrate it controls.
“It’s hard to calculate a precise number of miners connected to us that had unplugged. But we saw over tens of thousands of them [shut down] in the past several days based on conversations we had with larger farms that we are in regular contact with,” he said, as quoted by Coindesk. “This is what’s happening among miners in China”.
On November 15 Bitcoin’s price dropped below the key level of $6,000, which some experts believe is the break-even cost of Bitcoin mining. The price decline has made it difficult for miners, especially those with older machines, to stay profitable. The effect has been compounded by other factors, such as an increase in electricity costs in China that has marked the beginning of a dry winter season that hurts hydropower generation in the country.