Bitcoin mining difficulty has hit a record-high with an increase of 7.43% registered on Feb 5. This comes following an unprecedented rise in the hashrate.
There has also been a surge in the introduction of new mining hardware online. Yet Antpool and F2Pool remain the two largest mining pools, with BitFury and ViaBTC following closely. Antpool are stepping up with 19.3% of current hashpower. ViaBTC operate with Bitcoin Unlimited whose appeal has been growing lately, so their network hashpower has logically increased by 1.8% to reach 10.7%.
It is likely that the trend of increasing mining difficulty will lead to less profits for small operations, especially if electricity costs exceed revenues.
A potential explanation behindthe growth in mining diffuculty might be the increase in SPV mining which is centered around mining SHA-256 only. Next to the rapid boost of hashpower, this move has brought about considerable disbalance in the system, deservedly receiving negative feedback from bitcoin miners.