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Mining difficulty on the Bitcoin (BTC) network has taken its steepest upturn in almost a year, data from major Chinese mining pool BTC.com reveals.

On July 9, difficulty surged by over 14% to hit 9.06 trillion (9.06 T), at an average hash rate of 64.85 EH/s — a new all-time-high in the network’s history.

The last time the network posted such a sharp increase in block producing difficulty was back in late July 2018, when it soared almost 15% over a 2,016 block interval. 

At that time, however, average hash rate was at 42.59 EH/s and absolute difficulty was at a significantly lower 5.95 T.

As previously reported, Bitcoin’s hashing difficulty algorithm is designed to adjust every 2,016 blocks — roughly two weeks — to maintain a consistent ~10-minute block verification time. 

Typically, when the network sees a low level of participating mining power, difficulty will tumble — while in periods of intense network participation, it rises, working as a counterbalancing mechanism.

Amid the bull market, BTC.com’s data indicates that the next difficulty increase will see this uptrend intensifying even further — within 11 days, mining difficulty is expected to surge a further 10% to hit 9.9 T.

Block producing time for the recent 2,106 block period was at just 8 minutes 46 seconds — over 10% short of the desired 10 minutes.

All time Bitcoin network mining difficulty

All time Bitcoin network mining difficulty. Source: BTC.com

Historical data from BTC.com reveals that in the coin’s earlier years, the network saw hikes of over 20% within a given 2,016 block interval — as in early July 2016. Back then, it is worth noting that absolute difficulty was at just 144.12 G, with an average hash rate of 1.03 EH/s.

Go back still further to fall 2010, and the budding network was subject to hikes of almost 56% — but with an absolute difficulty of 2,149 – 2.15 K and a 15.37 GH/s average hash rate.

During crypto winter, Cointelegraph reported that the Bitcoin network had reported its second-largest difficulty drop in history, with a -15% adjustment in early December 2018.

In June of this year — as Bitcoin’s 2019 bull run gathered pace — mining difficulty hit a then all-time-high of 7.86 T, as reported at the time.

To press time, Bitcoin is trading at almost $11,700 — up 2% on the day, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

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