The Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate surged to an all-time high of 136 EH/s on Feb. 29. This new record is well above the previous record, which was near 120 EH/s, and represents a 230% increase in the past year.
This rise in hash rate has likely been fueled by Bitcoin’s (BTC) price increasing from $6,500 in the middle of December to as high as $10,500 in February, which makes mining more profitable.
Notably, the hash rate is still rising despite Bitcoin (BTC) falling to near $8,500 in the past couple of weeks. This makes sense since the network hash rate lags Bitcoin’s (BTC) price. Basically, if Bitcoin’s (BTC) price increases and miners decide to buy additional rigs to capitalize on the price increase, it can take weeks or months for those rigs to come online.
It is also notable that the Bitcoin (BTC) block halving is coming in just over 2 months, with one estimate saying that it will happen on May 12. At that point Bitcoin (BTC) mining profitability will instantly be cut in half unless the price of Bitcoin (BTC) doubles before then.
Therefore, the rapid rise in the hash rate in this past year could be indicative of miners betting on a major Bitcoin (BTC) rally as the halving approaches, or in the months after the halving. Basically, it would make no sense for the hash rate to be increasing so much right now unless miners expected a rally, considering that the halving is about to drastically reduce mining profitability.
That being said, it is a gamble for miners to buy more rigs right before the halving, and if Bitcoin’s (BTC) price does not go up much or remains steady, then a major fraction of mining rigs and farms will be forced to close down.
Thus, only time will tell if miners betting on a halving price rally will be a big success or a serious bust.