Bitcoin hash rate drops by 34% amid freezing temperatures in Texas


A sudden freeze in Texas may have contributed to a 34% drop in the Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate, as some miners were forced to curtail operations amid demand on the state’s energy grid.

Beginning on Jan. 14, temperatures in many parts of Texas dropped below freezing for one of the first times since a massive ice storm in February 2023. According to data from YCharts, the total BTC network hash rate fell from more than 629 exahashes per second (EH/s) on Jan. 11 to roughly 415 EH/s on Jan. 15 — a 34% drop. The analytics site reported the hash rate increased to more than 454 EH/s on Jan. 16 as temperatures in Austin briefly rose above freezing during the day.

According to Foundry’s data pool, Texas accounted for roughly 29% of the Bitcoin hash rate in the United States. Many mining firms relocated to the state from China following the country’s crackdown on BTC miners and crypto. Firms, including Marathon Digital, Riot Platforms, Bitdeer, and Core Scientific, have operations in Texas.

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Unlike in 2021, when record low temperatures and a sudden winter storm caused hundreds of power outages to homes at a time when many roads are covered in ice and heavy snow, there were fewer reports of significant disruptions to Texas’ power grid. Many mining firms have joined a program organized by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) that compensates them for adjusting their load on the state’s power grid during periods of high demand.

“Bitcoin miners like Marathon Digital are, among other things, a technology solution for the energy sector,” said Charlie Schumacher, vice president of corporate communications at Marathon Digital, in a Jan. 17 X post. “In Texas, they serve as base load that can be curtailed in minutes to free up energy for others in a time of crisis. That’s exactly what we’ve seen play out over the past few days.”

In Texas’s case, high demand often equates to extreme heat in the summer and winter conditions, potentially damaging the state’s energy infrastructure. In December 2022, Argo Blockchain reported a significant drop in activity due to winter conditions at its Texas Helios facility, mining roughly 25% less Bitcoin than it had in November. As of Jan. 17, ERCOT reported that “grid conditions are expected to be normal” starting at midnight.

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