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Interactive Map Visualizes Global Bitcoin Hashrate Geo-Distribution

China’s dominance of the Bitcoin mining space isn’t new but a Cambridge University research has come up with an interactive map that visualises the approximate geographic distribution of global Bitcoin hashrate according to mining distribution.

Put together by Apolline Blandin, Anton Dek and Claire Yue Wu, the Bitcoin Mining Map which used merely 37% of the world’s total hashrate to complete its findings, provides the average hashrate (total number of hashes produced by miners) share by country on a monthly basis starting from September 2019 as well as another which focuses on China’s hashrate distribution by province.

It is to give a clearer picture of the distribution based on underlying data provided by, Poolin and ViaBTC mining pools for the study. Blandin notes that they hope to partner more pools in the future to improve the accuracy and reliability of the mining map in subsequent editions.

The map uses geo-location data (i.e. IP addresses) of hashers connecting to the three pools – they collectively represent approximately 37% of Bitcoin total hashrate over the examined period – to calculate the average monthly hashrate breakdown by country to support in visuals the view that China dominates with about 65% share (or two-third). The U.S. and Russia are the closest at 7.24% and 6.90% respectively.

The visual map comes as a part of the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index which provides a real-time estimate of the total electricity load and consumption of the Bitcoin network. Its model is based on a bottom-up approach initially developed by Marc Bevand in 2017 that takes different types of available mining hardware as the starting point.

Based on a best-guess estimate, they put Bitcoin’s total electricity consumption at 20 863 TWh i.e.
Bitcoin accounts for 0.41 % of global electricity consumption. The attempt to provide an educated guess that more accurately quantifies Bitcoin’s real electricity usage brought about the assumption that all miners use an equally-weighted basket of hardware types that are profitable in electricity terms. They note:

“The assumption that all profitable machines are equally distributed among miners may seem very unrealistic at first: many hardware types have not been produced and sold in equal quantities, some equipment may not have been available to everyone at the same time, and other machines may already have been fully retired despite becoming profitable again for a short period of time. However, when comparing our best-guess estimate to a simulation that uses hardware weighting based on Stoll et al.’s (2019) market share calculations, the resulting electricity consumption values do not differ substantially. This suggests that using the current assumption of equally-weighted profitable equipment is acceptable until further research and analysis on better weighting approaches becomes available.”

The hashrate level has been topical as the quadrennial block reward halving is days away (May 12 or thereabout) even as countries like Ukraine consider using excess electricity for cryptocurrency mining as a way to transfer a ‘liability’ into an ‘asset’. Data from analytics firm Glassnode shows that the one-day average mining hashrate of the Bitcoin blockchain reached 139 exahashes per second (EH/s) to beat previous all-time highs.

Whereas, despite surges in price and mining power, Bitcoin developer Luke Dashjr suggests total node count fell below 47,000 on Monday May 4 to a level not seen since 2017 thus indicating that fewer people are participating in validating new transactions and storing copies of the network’s shared transaction history.

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