The continuing blizzard in the U.S. has had a drastic impact on bitcoin miners, causing many of them to shut down.
Thousands of homes and businesses nationwide were without power this holiday weekend amid an Arctic blast and winter storm that tore down power lines with winds and heavy snow and dropped temperatures dangerously low, leaving at least 22 people dead, CNN reported.
A major shake-up was occurring on the Bitcoin network with the hash rate — a measure of how much computing power is being used to process transactions — dropping significantly. Just since Saturday, the mean hash rate dropped by more than 30%, down to 155 EH/s from 230 EH/s, according to CoinMetrics data. This came as many big miners paused operations after the National Weather Service warned of the impending Arctic blast.
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 hash rate, at least 37%, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
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