January 19, 2024

Bitcoin Hashrate Declines by 35% Amid Texas Freeze

The recent subzero temperatures in Texas have caused a significant 35% drop in the Bitcoin hashrate, with miners in the Lone Star State temporarily reducing operations due to increased demand on the energy grid.

Texas, facing an unusual bout of freezing temperatures in January, triggered a 35% decrease in the Bitcoin hashrate as miners adjusted operations to cope with the challenges posed by the weather. Earlier this week, temperatures in various Texas regions fell below freezing, marking a notable event since the massive ice storm in February 2023. Data revealed a decline in the total Bitcoin network hashrate from a record high of 629 exahashes per second (EH/s) on January 11 to approximately 415 EH/s on January 15.

The drop in hashrate coincided with the freeze, but a temporary rebound occurred as temperatures in Austin rose above freezing on January 16, with the hash rate reaching over 455 EH/s. Foundry's data pool indicated that Texas contributed about 29% to the overall Bitcoin hashrate in the United States, attracting mining firms that relocated from China after the country's crackdown on miners and cryptocurrency.

Notably, Marathon Digital, Riot Platforms, Bitdeer, and Core Scientific are among the mining firms with operations in Texas. Marathon Digital's Vice President of Corporate Communications, Charlie Schumacher, highlighted the responsible approach of Bitcoin miners, stating that curtailing operations during extreme weather events helps support the Texas electric grid and its citizens battling sub-zero temperatures.

According to Schumacher:

"Bitcoin miners serve as base load that turns off during extreme weather events, making energy more abundant and cheaper for those who need it within minutes."

Riot, another mining firm, actively engages in demand response programs, allowing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to manage the company's load during critical weather conditions.

Texas faces challenges in balancing its energy grid during both extreme heat in the summer and freezing conditions in winter. In December 2022, Argo Blockchain reported a significant reduction in activity at its Texas Helios facility due to winter conditions, mining approximately 25% less bitcoin than in November. As of January 17, ERCOT reported that grid conditions are expected to be normal again.

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