Increasing Monero Hashrate
Over the last few months the network hashrate for Monero has increased rapidly from a steady 400 Mh/s. December of last year remained nominal at around 350 Mh/s. Transitioning to January, we experienced a sharp rise to 500 Mh/s. From January to February we saw an even more surprising leap to 860 Mh/s, and now in early March we have made it just past 1 Gh/s on the Monero network.
Why the Increase?
Because we are in the middle of a bear market, many people find this exponential increase in hashing power to be highly suspect. It is unlikely that many new and different miners are adding their CPU and GPU power to the network, as for many this is currently unprofitable. It almost looks like a majority of these hashes could be coming from FPGA or ASIC miners.
Results from the Fork
With Monero having successfully hard-forked on March 9th, the difficulty has re-stabilized and we can now analyse the aftermath. Due to the way mining difficulty is calculated for Monero miners, around 400 blocks after the fork we were able to see that the hash rate is back to a reasonable value. Only after 720 blocks could we truly be sure that the estimated hash rate is an accurate reflection of the network post-fork. However, we see already that the hash rate is at least as low as 270 Mh/s. Some of this fall back is caused by CPU and GPU miners being unable to update their mining software in time for the new algorithm. But the free fall in hash rate seems to be more in line with many people's beliefs before March 9th. The rapid decrease in the hashrate, and inability for it to recover are indicative that much of the network was being dominated by ASIC or FPGA miners.
Victory in the Future?
It's apparent either FPGAs or ASICs have been halted for now, but is it possible for manufacturers to catch up before the next fork? If the last few months of mining were profitable for the ASIC and FGPA miners then they will surely return some time before the next fork. Despite Monero's efforts, it may still be worthwhile for some people to rush ASICs into production so they can dominate the network, even if it is only a few months at a time.