Bitmain, the company behind the popular Antminer application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner, has reportedly cut back on mining capacity, as evidenced by its internal bitcoin mining operations now generating 88 percent less computing power compared to a month ago.
The reduction was first spotted in the company’s monthly hashing power disclosure. As of May 7, the hash rate of all Bitmain-owned hardware running the SHA265 algorithm had dropped from 2,072 quadrillion hashes per second (PH/s) a month ago to just 237.29 PH/s.
If we are to assume that all of Bitmain’s hashing power comes from Antminer S9s, of which can output 14 tera hashes per second (TH/s), the drop in mining power would correlate to the company taking 130,000 of the machines they use offline.
Bitcoin’s total hash power steadily rising
This isn’t the first time Bitmain has cut back on its hash rate. In July 2018, when the company first started disclosing its own machines’ hashrate every month, the hash rate was reported to be 1,692 PH/s. It increased to 2,339 PH/s in October and then dropped to below 1,700 PH/s in March 2019.
That particular drop coincided with the overall decline of the bitcoin network’s total computing power as bitcoin prices fell below $4,000 over the same period of time. That drop also saw Bitmain’s share of the bitcoin network’s total computing power decrease from four percent to 0.4 percent.
As big as the latest drop in hash rate is, it doesn’t mean Bitmain has turned off all of the mining equipment it operates.
Although Bitmain’s share of computing power on the bitcoin network has dropped, the denominator has grown. Data from blockchain.info shows that bitcoin’s total hash power reached a six-month high of over 58,000 PH/s on May 2.
The bitcoin cash network, which Bitmain has supported vocally in the past, has also seen its hash rate hold steady at 2,000 to 2,500 PH/s since early this year.
The drastic drop in mining power is particularly noticeable as it follows Bitmain’s widely publicized plans to deploy $80 million worth of machines as crypto miners in China prepare to take advantage of the cheap hydroelectric power to be brought about by the country’s rainy season.
The company has yet to make a definitive statement regarding the hash rate reduction, but a Bitmain spokesperson noted that it is “[in the] natural course of the mining business where the hash rate owned by one body at one instant may be owned by someone else at another instant.”
Back in March, Bitmain was reported to already be in negotiations with various local mining farms which could potentially house the 200,000 mining machines it planned to deploy.
The company also just released its next-generation 7nm Antminer 17 series last month.