Prior to the recent lull, bitcoin has been experiencing double-digit growth since late May of 2013.
As always, the news of an increased difficulty isn’t purely bad news. Over the last few weeks, at least 35 petahash of power has been added to the bitcoin network. As we reported yesterday, much of that power comes from industrial-scale “hashing centers” located across the globe, making the network ever-more resistant to attack.
An increase in mining power also tends to have upward pressure on bitcoin’s price, as it requires progressively more computing power to keep the same chance of solving a block as the network grows. As mining each block becomes more expensive, the price most miners are willing to sell their newly minted bitcoin at also increases. The massive increase in mining difficulty means that a huge amount of hashing power was brought online in the last few days, meaning that some group believes they’re likely to see a meaningful return on the tens of millions of dollars they invested.