Saturday, May 16, 2020

Return Of The Bitcoin Chain Death Spiral.

Bitcoin mining is an economic activity. Miners will stop mining if it is unprofitable. The only exception is mining on the BCH and BSV chain where the supporters are mining to support the chain and are basically holding on to the coin for future profits. This happened in the case of BSV when the coin increased in price from $45 to $190 today. Doing the same on BTC at $9000 is not that easy.

To maintain current price there has to be about $8 million a day of new investment into BTC.


The above is the result of 1TH of mining on Viabtc. Since the halving on 11 May it is mining at a loss. Before the halving, mining difficulty was to readjust over 6 days, but today 7 days later it is expected to take another 3 days. This slowing down is due to miners leaving the network.

BTC mining profitability through price increase.

We can use the chart above to calculate the required price increase to break even on mining at the 100 EH mining today. This is ( 849/749*9000) which is $10,241. Over the last week BTC price have exceeded $10,000 briefly only to fall back to the mid $9000. There does not seem to be enough support among bitcoin supporters.

BTC mining profitability through reduction in hashrate

A mining breakeven can also be achieve if another ( 100 - 749/849*100) 12 EH of miners leave the network. This is a sizeable amount as the total hashrate mining on the BCH amd BSV chain is only about 5 EH.

Inefficient miners will stop mining.

As of today there are still 103 EH mining on the BTC chain. The price of BTC has increased from $8500 to $9500 but the number of miners have only reduced slightly from 120. Less efficient independent miners in mining pools must soon stop mining after the next difficulty adjustment in 3 days if the price does not increase.

BTC chain is slowing down and this is dangerous

The average number of blocks mined a day is about 122 compared to the 144 expected. Surprisingly the mempool has not grown much. This means that there are not many backed up transactions waiting to be processed. BTC is not suffering from a glut in popularity.

Chain Death Spiral

The chain death spiral is the theory that the BTC chain will grind to a halt if miners exit the network suddenly. This is because BTC does not have an emergency difficulty adjustment mechanism as in BCH and BSV.  BTC chain has already slowed from 10 minutes a block to 12. The problem is that when the readjustment does take place in say 3 days from today there will not be much change in the difficulty and that will have to last another 2016 blocks which on current performance could take a month.

Between BTC price increasing and miners leaving the network, miners are more likely to leave the network. This will slow the network down even more and people will start to notice. Will a white knight emerge to prop up the price, leading to a bull market and saving BTC?






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