Since 2011, Bitcoin miners had not taken so long to add a block with transactions to the blockchain of this protocol.
Block 689.301 it took 139 minutes to mine compared to the previous block, today Thursday 1 July at 07:46 UTC. The previous block, 689.300, was mined at 05: 27 hours, 2 hours 19 minutes ago. Thus, block 689.301, mined by the FoundryServices pool, becomes second slowest in Bitcoin history since 2011.
According to Bitcoin users, block 152,218, mined that year, took 1 hour, 39 minutes and 7 seconds to be mined compared to the previous block (152,217), being one of the slowest in history; although previously there were blocks that took longer, even days, to be added to the Bitcoin blockchain, they say.
The reasons behind this slowness in confirmation time are in the fall of the biggest hash rate in Bitcoin history, which reported Crypto News. The mining power of the network down 60% from its last peak in April 2021, on the occasion of incidents and bans on cryptocurrency mining in China.
As we have reported in Crypto News, some of the Bitcoin miners are in the process of migrating from China to other latitudes, but others may not reconnect anytime soon.
The hash rate drop, which currently stands at 82 exahashes per second (EH/s) according to YCharts, shows how a large number of Bitcoin miners have been disconnected from the network in recent months.
In periods where a good part of the miners are not operating, block confirmation times can be lengthenedas well as may increase the commissions paid by users.
Currently, according to Mempool.Space, there are more than 70,000 pending transactions and the average fees are between 77 and 87 sats/vB, depending on their priority, equivalent to between 3.50 and 4.50 dollars. The memory of the mempool, which is the storage space of Bitcoin nodes for the set of pending transactions, is at 280 MB, bordering on the maximum of 300 MB.
This decrease in the hash rate means that miners lose capacity compared to the current levels of mining difficulty, regulated by the protocol every 2,016 blocks or two weeks approximately.
Difficulty setting will rescue Bitcoin miners
Miners who are still operating will be assisted in the next difficulty adjustment of the network, which will occur on Saturday morning or at noon (UTC Time), at the height of block 689.472.
Currently the mining difficulty of the network is 19.93 T, and an estimated reduction of 26% is expected in the next adjustment, which would leave the difficulty at around 15 T according to BTC.com.
This difficulty setting could be the biggest in Bitcoin’s history, unless in less than 24 hours enough miners are reconnected to raise the hash rate, which seems unlikely.
However, Bitcoin has embedded in its code the configuration that difficulty cannot be adjusted by a factor greater than 4that is, no more than 25% percent.
The last difficulty adjustment that exceeded the 20% difference occurred on May 13, causing the difficulty to increase to an all-time high of 25 T.