Another interesting development will take place in the Bitcoin mining sector. With the mempool filling up, things are already looking worrisome. It now seems we will get another major mining difficulty adjustment on Monday. With a new 15% increase in difficulty, transaction confirmations may take even longer. At the same time, the network fees will probably continue to rise for a while longer. It is evident this situation doesn’t look favorable. For now, we have to wait and see how things will play out.
Bitcoin’s network has been struggling for some time now. We have seen multiple delays in transactions throughout 2017. At the same time, the average transaction fee is rising beyond expectations. It has become very expensive to move BTC around, which is far from an ideal situation. The mining difficulty will affect this situation as well. In this particular case, Bitcoin mining will grow 15% more difficult in a few days from today.
Another big Mining Difficulty Change
Difficulty adjustments are nothing new under the sun, mind you. It happens every 14 days, roughly, and the difficulty tends to go up every time. Especially with more hashpower mining BTC, the difficulty has to adjust for this increased power. It is the second time in succession we will see a double-digit difficulty increase, though. The previous one didn’t introduce any big changes, although it hasn’t helped the network much either. Transactions have been slow to confirm for some time now. Moreover, fees are still high, which is slowly becoming the new normal.
It remains to be seen how this new mining difficulty will affect things. Miners aren’t switching over to Bitcoin Cash, for a change. After all, the current mining fees make it profitable enough to stick with Bitcoin. Sadly, we see over 162,000 unconfirmed transactions in the mempool already. If the hashrate doesn’t increase equal to the mining difficulty next Monday, delays could grow even worse. Bitcoin can’t handle the 8.84 transactions per second hitting the network right now.
Something needs to change to successfully address these problems. While we all love Bitcoin, this current version isn’t usable by the average person. Paying $10 in fees or more is simply ridiculous. We need a scaling solution yesterday instead of tomorrow. Unfortunately, that isn’t in the cards right now. Even the Lightning Network may come too late to save Bitcoin at this rate. A very disturbing situation that will park a lot of debate over the coming days and weeks.
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