Bitcoin Network Slows To Record Low Speed After Block Halving, Average Block Time Of 15 Minutes

May 19, 2020 / by Crypto.IQ

The Bitcoin (BTC) network mined only 95 new blocks on May 17, which is an average of one block every 15 minutes. This is extremely slow compared to the average block time of 10 minutes, which generates 144 blocks per day. This is a highly anomalous event, since in the past decade there have only been 8 days where the Bitcoin (BTC) network has dropped below 100 blocks per day.

This slow down in network speed is due to the block halving. Essentially, the block halving cut the block reward in half from 12.5 Bitcoins (BTC) to 6.25 Bitcoins (BTC), slashing mining revenue by 50%. This caused numerous mining farms to shutdown their rigs, since the 50% slash in mining revenue pushed them into the red in terms of profitability. 

Indeed, the Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate plunged from 136 EH/s before the halving to 81 EH/s currently, a 40% drop. 

Since the hash rate has slowed down so rapidly, it now takes longer than usual for the Bitcoin (BTC) network to find blocks. Further, the slow down in block times is causing mining revenue to drop even further, which may be a force that is pushing the hash rate even lower. 

Fortunately, when the difficulty adjustment comes block times will go back to the average of 10 minutes, as the network adjusts to the post-halving drop in hash rate. The difficulty adjustment is going to happen at block 631,008, which is only 2-3 days from now. 

On a final note, this massive slowdown in network speed probably partially explains the recent spike in transaction fees to $3-5, since less blocks means less space for transactions to be processed. Therefore, when the difficulty adjustment comes and block times return to normal, that will help transaction fees to drop back to normal as well. 

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