The continuing blizzard in the U.S. has had a drastic impact on bitcoin miners, causing many of them to shut down.
A major shake-up is happening on the Bitcoin network with the hashrate — a measure of how much computing power is being used to process transactions — dropping significantly. Since Saturday, the hashrate of the Bitcoin network has dropped by more than 30%, down to 155 EH/s from 230 EH/s, according to CoinMetrics data. This comes as many big miners paused operations after the National Weather Service warned of an “arctic blast” hitting the country.
Mining firm Riot Blockchain said it was closing its Rockdale facility in Texas because of extreme weather conditions. Other miners took similar positions. Core Scientific, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, said it would be «participating in multiple power curtailments to help stabilize the electrical grid.» Bitcoin production is expected to decrease during this time, Core Scientific said on Twitter.
«Please be prepared for some ups and downs this weekend as we deal with the winter storm,» Neil Galloway, director of mining operations at Compass Mining, said on Twitter, adding that its sites in Texas were offline. «Because your miner is offline, people can heat their homes and cook.»
The weather event has created a unique set of challenges for U.S. bitcoin miners. They depend on access to reliable electricity in order to conduct operations, and any prolonged power outages have serious implications for their ability to engage in mining activities. The U.S. accounts for the biggest share of Bitcoin’s global hashrate, at least 37%, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.