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While Bitcoin’s Hashrate Remains Sky-High, Merge-Mined Crypto Asset Networks Benefit

While Bitcoin’s Hashrate Remains Sky-High, Merge-Mined Crypto Asset Networks BenefitIn recent times, Bitcoin’s hashrate has been consistently above 300 exahash per second (EH/s) as multiple mining pools dedicate significant hashpower to the Bitcoin blockchain today. Interestingly, some of the world’s top bitcoin mining pools are also using their hashrate to merge-mine other coins, and these networks have benefited from bitcoin’s increased hashrate. How Bitcoin’s […]

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Bitcoin Miners Brace for Another Projected Difficulty Increase as Hashrate Heats Up Amid Market Uncertainty

Bitcoin Miners Brace for Another Projected Difficulty Increase as Hashrate Heats Up Amid Market UncertaintyDespite a 9.95% increase last week and the all-time high difficulty, bitcoin’s hashrate has averaged around 305 exahash per second (EH/s) over the past 30 days. According to current data, the hashrate has been around 308 EH/s over the past 2,016 blocks. The next difficulty change, set to occur on March 10, is estimated to […]

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You don’t see that every day: Bitcoin empty block found

Don't be fooled by its emptiness: Block 776,339 plays as important a role as busier blocks in the Bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin (BTC) is known for its robustness, security and predictability. Every 10 minutes–on average–the blockchain produces a new block and the successful miner earns a block reward of 6.25 BTC, circa $130,000. 

However, every once in a while, the Bitcoin blockchain surprises observers and participants.

At block height 776,339, nodes across the network verified a completely empty block. The block was added to the Bitcoin blockchain with zero included transactions–leading to some confusion among the crypto community. So, what exactly is an empty block, and how does it happen?

Block expectation vs reality according to source: mempool.space

First, while an empty block might seem strange at first, it's actually a normal occurrence on the network. The last time it occurred was little over two weeks ago, in block 774486.

Miners are incentivized to mine blocks as quickly as possible, and sometimes they will mine a block before they have received any transactions to include. When this happens, the block remains empty.

The Bitcoin mempool, the go-to space for analysing the Bitcoin blockchain offers the following explanation: “When a new block is found, mining pools send miners a block template with no transactions so they can start searching for the next block as soon as possible. They send a block template full of transactions right afterward, but a full block template is a bigger data transfer and takes slightly longer to reach miners.”

“In this intervening time, which is usually no more than 1-2 seconds, miners sometimes get lucky and find a new block using the empty block template.”

In essence, the miners “got lucky” by mining a template. In this instance, the Bitcoin block at height 776,389 was added mere seconds after its predecessor, 776,488. ‎However, Block 776,388 earned an extra 0.086 BTC or circa $1,854 in fees, which was added to the block reward of ‎6.25 BTC or circa $135,247.

Even though an empty block doesn't contain any transactions, the miner still receives the block reward of newly minted bitcoins. As such, Block 776,389 was awarded 6.25 BTC; no transaction fees. Binance Pool was the winning miner, who contribute as much as 12% to t total hash rate.

Bitcoin mining pool ranking. Source: mempool.space

It's important to note that empty blocks are not a problem for the network. By mining empty blocks, miners still produce the coin generation transaction, also known as the coinbase transaction, which keeps Bitcoin steady on its path to reaching 21 million Bitcoin issued. 

Related: Public miners increased Bitcoin production, hash rate in January

According to data from BitInfoCharts, the percentage of empty blocks on the network is usually around 1-2%. The stat is more surprising today given the rise of “ordinals” on Bitcoin, or the ability to permanently etch pictures, data and stamps onto the blockchain.

The rise in ordinals has provoked some questions and even concern among the Bitcoin community, and the first instances of pornography were recently recorded. The mempool has been increasingly busy and block space has been contested for as some jpeg enthusiasts scramble to contribute their art to the Bitcoin blockchain.

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Russian government subsidizes crypto mining facility in Siberia

The facility, which is to open this year, will possess 30,000 crypto mining machines, hire 100 workers and consume 100 megawatts from the power grid.

The crypto mining industry has faced moratoriums in some parts of the U.S. and Canada in recent months. Now, Russia provides tax incentives for those who want to invest in crypto mining. The new $12 million crypto mining center will open in East Siberia with the direct support of the government.

According to local media, the state-owned Corporation for the Development of the Far East announced the launch of the crypto mining center in Buryatia — a republic in East Siberia and a part of the Russian Federation.

The facility will possess 30,000 mining machines, hire 100 workers and consume 100 megawatts from the power grid. It will open in the first half of 2023 and be owned and run by the private operator, the largest crypto-mining colocation services supplier in Russia, BitRiver.

The mining center will enjoy a broad set of incentives, from zero land and property taxes to a lowered rate of income tax. The electricity prices will be cut by half for the mining operator.

Related: Russia’s Gazprombank recommends slow CBDC rollout fearing loss of income

The government support can be explained by the legal status of Buryatia, which comes as a “territory of advanced development” — a special economic zone incentivized to attract national and foreign investments. The Corporation for the Development of the Far East is a subsidiary of the Ministry of the Development of the Far East and Arctics and specializes in supporting investment projects.

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the financial sanctions that followed it, the Russian government made a U-turn on crypto in general and on mining in particular. In July 2022, a state-owned gas giant Gazprom Neft entered into a partnership with BitRiver to provide it with electricity generated from the associated petroleum gas. As part of the collaboration, BitRiver started developing a digital infrastructure based on the oil fields in that Gazprom provides crypto mining services from flare gas.

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Next Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Change Estimated to Decrease as Block Times Have Lengthened

Next Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Change Estimated to Decrease as Block Times Have LengthenedThe last two mining difficulty changes on the Bitcoin network have driven difficulty to an all-time high, causing a decrease in hashrate and block interval speed. Before the latest difficulty retarget increase of 4.68%, block intervals were faster than the 10-minute average, at approximately 8 minutes 54 seconds to 9 minutes 31 seconds. However, since […]

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Rumor has it that Dogecoin could shift to proof-of-stake — What does that mean for miners?

Dogecoin shifting to proof-of-stake would be good for the environment, but what impact would it have on miners and ASIC manufacturers?

There are rumors that Dogecoin could switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake (PoS). 

Do I know if Dogecoin is switching to PoS?


Do I think it’s going to PoS? Probably not.

But I love the “what if” game.

As a person who works in the crypto mining industry, I do my best to gauge where the market and mining industry are going, along with how that could play out. If Dogecoin makes a change to PoS or some other change to how new blocks are created, it would have massive ramifications for the mining industry.

Here’s a look at a few options and their effects.

Scrypt mining could be devastated

I’m not going to debate whether or not Dogecoin will or should switch to PoS. While it’s hard to determine if the recent rumors about the potential for a switch are true or not, they were enough to have Bitmain supposedly pause Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE) miner manufacturing.

The larger question in my mind is, What happens to miners if Dogecoin switches to PoS?

First, Scrypt mining would be devastated. DOGE accounts for over 60% of the revenue with Scrypt mining. Take it away, and every L3+, every LT6 and every Mini Doge Pro, literally almost every non-L7 miner not connected to $0.04-per-kilowatt-hour electricity would need to be unplugged immediately.

Network difficulty would likely bounce all over the place for some time, while miners with older equipment struggle with the decision to keep their ASICSs on or turn them off. The apex Scrypt miner, Bitmain’s Antminer L7, would see its profitability reduced by nearly 75%, reducing profits to a whopping $4.83/day at $0.05/kWh.

What about the miners that don’t have an industrial electric rate? At $0.10/kWh, the L7 9050M, which sold for around $9,000 a few weeks ago, would earn you $0.72/day.


A drastic change like this would result in those who had recently purchased an L7 being very unlikely to ever recover their investment, let alone generate any profits.

ASIC manufacturers would be forced to drop prices, further impacting their bottom line

The vastly reduced profitability would inevitably lead to the price of the L7 dropping quicker than it did during the COVID-19-induced crypto crash. Pricing miners solely by their expected ROI time, at $5 a day profit, miners would be looking at the L7 having a price tag between $1,825 (12-month ROI) and $2,737.50 (18-month ROI). This reflects a minimum price reduction of nearly 70%.

How quickly would Bitmain react? Would they gradually reduce prices week after week similar to what Goldshell has done with many of its miners over the past few months? A strategy that repeatedly left a sour taste in the mouths of customers as they watched the price of the miner they just spent thousands of dollars on being slashed repeatedly.

Or would they come out and continue their recent trend of pricing miners fairly?

ASIC resellers would also bear the brunt of the negative consequences connected to a PoS shift by Dogecoin. Many L7 miners are suppliers, and retailers sitting on that would instantly need to be marked down by a substantial amount. However, based on their recent history of price-gouging customers, like charging $60,000 for a KD6 that is barely worth over $1,000 today, it’s doubtful many tears would be shed for them.

Many home miners would flood eBay and similar platforms with Scrypt miners. It would be a race to the bottom as desperate miners attempt to recoup whatever value is left in the hunk of metal that can now only be used as a doorstop or display piece if one is desperate.

Litecoin mining would survive. Those L7s would stay on because they’d still be somewhat profitable, and there really wouldn’t be another choice. It’s doubtful that the market would see a new Scrypt miner that could challenge the L7 to be developed anytime soon unless there already is a more efficient Scrypt miner in development. There are some rumors that Bitmain is working on a miner that would surpass the L7.

That’s a lot of disruption from the move to PoS, and we’ve only looked at one aspect of the crypto ecosystem. Numerous other questions and scenarios would need to be considered.

What would happen to network security?

Would the yield from staking cause DOGE to eventually be labeled a security?

Would Dogecoin be lauded for the change, or would the masses flee from what is now the second-largest PoW coin by market cap?

Now for my favorite what if. This option is unlikely, maybe even impossible, but there are different ways it could play out.

What if Dogecoin breaks away from merge-mining with LTC and creates its own mining algorithm?

Related: Dogecoin Foundation announces new fund for core developers

Innovation and competition are healthy for every industry

What if there’s a GPU mining renaissance? After the Ethereum Merge event, there’s a ton of really cheap GPUs available on the market. Those would get expensive really quickly. Mining purists would rejoice as they build their own mining rigs while trying to figure out how much DOGE they can stack. It really would be cool to see, but it wouldn’t last. The big three manufacturers — Bitmain, Goldshell and iBelink — would scramble to be the first to market with an ASIC miner.

Eventually, they’d each have at least one ASIC miner on the market, and naturally, they’ll get more powerful and more efficient over time. The jumps and increases in difficulty would be ridiculous, and just like with Bitcoin (BTC), it will eventually no longer be profitable to mine DOGE with GPUs. But it could also open the door to something the ASIC manufacturing market desperately needs: competition.

What if, following the short-lived GPU mining renaissance, a door opens for another manufacturer or manufacturers to enter the market? Currently, Bitmain, Goldshell and iBelink are the “big three,” and it’s really Bitmain that has a total stranglehold on the market. So, while it’s likely Bitmain would come out on top, what if there’s someone out there who can be first to market and maintain that lead and establish itself as a credible and reliable ASIC manufacturer?

What if that company decided to branch out into other miners and offer them fair prices? To be fair, we do have to commend Bitmain again for the pricing on its recent rollout of industry-altering miners. Reseller markups are still an issue, but that’s another topic. Perhaps this “new” competitor would adhere to the mantra that customer service actually matters. If customers could get over the reliability concerns and the company built a good product, that could happen. Admittedly, that’s a lot of what-ifs.

Alternatively, there’s a money-grab scenario for Dogecoin. The project could go directly to Bitmain, Goldshell and iBelink and say, “We’re creating our own mining algorithm, and we’ll give it to you and you alone. How much money will you give us?”

What would Goldshell pay to bring life back to a company that has taken a series of body blows from the recent altcoin miners released by Bitmain? Or would iBelink go all out to win the rights to make the miner? IBelink just released a new BM-K3 Kadena miner that boasts 70 terahashes — a nearly 75% increase over the next closest model — and it can’t celebrate because Bitmain is about to trump that with the new KA3 that brings 166 THs. In the case of a Dogecoin offer to ASIC manufacturers, how much would Bitmain pay to maintain its market dominance?

No change could be a good thing

What if DOGE chooses to simply continue with Scrypt mining?

The status quo is not that exciting, but it seems to be the most likely outcome. Sure, there may be some changes that will pass a vote, but Dogecoin will most likely continue to be merge-mined with LTC on the Scrypt algorithm.

Bitmain is likely to continue pushing out L7 inventory before launching a more efficient Scrypt miner later this year AND Goldshell will launch a Mini Doge Pro 2 for home miners that will essentially be two Mini Doge Pros in one box. The upcoming LTC halving, along with the more efficient miners, will probably push several older models to shut down for good.

Crypto markets will go up, and crypto markets will go down. There will likely be some other crypto scandal that no one sees coming that will look incredibly obvious in hindsight. The sun will come up, and the sun will come down. Of course, most suppliers and especially resellers will continue to markup miners and squeeze everything they can out of regular customers.

It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen with Dogecoin in the future, but crypto is one of the few industries where anything can happen on any given day.

Regardless of whether Dogecoin switches to PoS, the crypto mining landscape has always changed rapidly, and Scrypt mining is no different.

Change is coming.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Bitcoin Difficulty Surges 4.68%, Taps New All-Time High; Metric Set to Surpass 40 Trillion

Bitcoin Difficulty Surges 4.68%, Taps New All-Time High; Metric Set to Surpass 40 TrillionThe Bitcoin blockchain recorded another difficulty increase on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, at block height 774,144. The network’s difficulty increased by 4.68%, from 37.59 trillion to an all-time high of 39.35 trillion. Bitcoin Difficulty Reaches New All-Time High as Mining Gets Tougher Bitcoin’s difficulty reached another all-time high, surpassing the record set two weeks ago, […]

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Bitcoin Difficulty Set to Rise 3.82% to All-Time High of 39 Trillion Following Recent Increase

Bitcoin Difficulty Set to Rise 3.82% to All-Time High of 39 Trillion Following Recent IncreaseThe Bitcoin network is set to record another meaningful difficulty increase on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, as current estimates expect it to rise 3.82% higher. The change follows the last difficulty retarget, which advanced by 10.26% to the current all-time high of 37.59 trillion. Block Time Breakdown: How Faster Discovery is Impacting Bitcoin Difficulty In […]

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Bitcoin Network’s Mining Difficulty Rises to All-Time High, Making Block Discovery More Challenging

Bitcoin Network’s Mining Difficulty Rises to All-Time High, Making Block Discovery More ChallengingBitcoin’s mining difficulty printed a record increase on Jan. 15, 2023, rising 10.26% to 37.73 trillion at block height 772,128. The network’s difficulty is now at an all-time high. This means, on average, it takes 37.73 trillion hashes, or attempts, to find a valid bitcoin block reward and add it to the blockchain. 2023’s First […]

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Bitcoin Network Braces for Notable Difficulty Increase in 3 Days

Bitcoin Network Braces for Notable Difficulty Increase in 3 DaysBitcoin’s mining difficulty, the measure of how difficult it is to find a new block and add it to the blockchain, is set to increase significantly on Jan. 15, 2023, according to current estimates. At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty appears to be on track for a 10% increase, rising from 34.09 trillion […]

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