Countries with cheap electricity have emerged as major hosts of cryptocurrency mining. Photo: iStock

Bitcoin (BTC) has hit an all-time high in terms of hash rate despite dropping almost 12% last week, data suggests.

According to various resources tracking hash rate growth on the bitcoin network, the metric was circling its highest value ever as of March 1, Cointelegraph reported.

Hash rate refers to the combined computing power that miners are dedicating to validating transactions on the bitcoin blockchain. The higher the value, the more power there is – this implies that miners believe in the profitability of mining, and have a desire to increase network security. 

Data from monitoring resource Bitinfocharts put bitcoin’s hash rate at just over 120 quintillion hashes per second on Sunday, the latest day for which figures are currently available.

Another monitor, from wallet provider Blockchain, put the figure at closer to 140 quintillion hashes per second after picking up a spike in activity over the weekend.

Bitcoin 1-year hash rate chart. Source: Blockchain

As Cointelegraph reported, hash rate tools can only estimate activity. In 2019, what many thought was a sudden drop in hash rate was subsequently shown not to be miners exiting bitcoin.

Halving flashpoint

In May, when the new bitcoins released to miners each block will halve from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC, expectations are high that increased competition will boost hash rate still further.

PlanB, the analyst who created the highly-accurate stock-to-flow price forecasting model for Bitcoin, recently reinforced his belief in the theory.

For him, the 2020 halving will produce similar effects to the 2012 and 2016 events – a catalytic impact on hash rate, difficulty and, of course, price.

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