Posts Tagged ‘Litecoin Difficulty


Charlie Lee, the creator of of the popular alternative crypto currency Litecoin, has posted on Reddit a short and interesting analysis on why a few weeks after the first block reward halving the difficulty and price of LTC has returned to the level it was prior to the event. Below you can find his post quoted:

After the halving one would expect that either the price will go up or the hashrate must drop. This is because mining is designed with a Nash equilibrium of miner profit reaching 0 over time. So if miners are running at near 0 profit, and suddenly their revenue gets cut in half, miners would need to turn off their machines unless they are willing to mine at a loss.

The halving happened, and the price stayed the same. The hashrate dropped a little but then climbed back up pretty quickly to the previous level. That’s really unexpected, but I think I have an explanation. I talked to some Chineses miners at Scaling Bitcoin and learned something interesting. Most miners have found electricity for free or close to 0 cost. Chinese hydro power plants are sometimes generating too much electricity. That electricity goes to waste if it’s unused. So these plants have either sold the electricity for near 0-cost or they have partnered with miners to give them free electricity for a revenue share.

So this makes total sense now. If the electricity is free or close to 0 cost, then there’s no reason for miners to shut down their machines. They make half as much, but still profitable. These miners have also been asking around at the conference to try to buy old outdated Bitcoin/Litecoin ASICs. With 0-cost electricity, they can keep those machines running and still make money.

We considered the possibility that the reason behind was the introduction of newer generation of Scrypt ASIC miners from SFARDS and Innosilicon and the companies making them stacking up on hardware in their own mining data centers. But the possibility of a lot of Asian miners with zero cost to very very very cheap electricity mining with whatever hardware they can get and still profiting also sounds like a good enough reason. If that ends up being the actual reason it presents a bit of a problem for the normal home miners and small mining operations based outside of Asia that still need to pay for electricity and thus have higher cost for mining and smaller to no profit at all…


After the recent Litecoin (LTC) block reward halving we’ve seen some drop in the total network hashrate and thus difficulty as well as a direct result from the new lower rewards as a result of mining. The exchange rate of Litecoin did not change much, but with the lower difficulty things were looking like they would balance – smaller reward, but easier to mine. Interestingly enough a few days after the block reward halving the difficulty of LTC has started rising again and has already reached back the level where it was before the halving and it seems that it will continue to rise. This development rises some questions as to what is happening, so that the difficulty is rising and the exchange rate remains the same while the block reward is half of what it was previously. The only reasonable answer would be that somebody is bringing online new generation of more efficient Scrypt ASIC miners, otherwise with old generation hardware a lot of people would be mining LTC at a loss. There are not that many options available, probably SFARDS is stacking up their new SF100 miners for own use in a data center or maybe Innosilicon is ready with their next generation of Scrypt ASIC chips and are doing the same…


Lately we are seeing an interesting development in the world of BTC and LTC mining, there is a rapid increase in the difficulty and network hashrate of Litecoin even though the price is not that high. With Bitcoin we are seeing a slight drop in the network hashrate and difficulty, and the prognosis for the next adjustment is also for a decrease in the hashrate and difficulty. While we are expecting LTC difficulty to continue to rise with more ASIC miners getting introduced on the market, we are kind of surprised to see the slight drop for BTC. The reason for that is probably the old mining hardware that is getting too expensive to run with the current low exchange rate for Bitcoin and is taken offline.

Below we are going to take a look at some common hashrate amounts for both BTC and LTC and see what you can currently mine with them in the form of USD at the current level of difficulty and at the current exchange rates. Do note that the below numbers represent the estimated daily coins that you might be able to mine and there are no expenses calculated for electricity.

10 GHS – 0.04339 USD/day
100 GHS – 0.4339 USD/day
1 THS – 4.339 USD/day
10 THS – 43.4 USD/day
100 THS – 433.9 USD/day
1 PHS – 4339 USD/day

1 MHS – 0.0676 USD/day
10 MHS – 0.676 USD/day
100 MHS – 6.76 USD/day
1 GHS – 67.6 USD/day
10 GHS – 676 USD/day
100 GHS – 6760 USD/day

Here is how things look in terms of an average cost for electricity that you would have to pay for a certain hashrate for both BTC and LTC to get an idea about the costs associated with running an ASIC miner for mining Bitcoin or Litecoin. You would need to deduct these costs from the numbers above as they represent only what you will be mining if converted with the current exchange rate. Do note that the average price per KHW of power can greatly vary based on your location, so the costs can vary quite a bit, so the numbers below are just a rough estimate. We base the power usage estimate for BTC using 1000 GHS at 800W as per Bitmain AntMiner C1 specifications (0.8 Watt/GHS) and for LTC using the 100 MHS at 1100W as per Innosilicon A2 MEGA Terminator specifications (11 Watt/MHS). As an average price in USD of the energy used for the estimated numbers below we are using 13 Cents per Kilowatthour.

Electricity costs for hashrate:
1 THS Bitcoin – 2.496 USD/day
100 MHS Litecoin – 3.432 USD/day

So the actual daily profit after paying for the electricity with a 1 THS Bitcoin ASIC miner at the moment will get you just about $1.843 USD per day, $55.29 USD per month if the difficulty level remains the same with a miner that can cost you something like 10 times what you can earn in a month. The actual daily profit after paying for electricity with a 100 MHS Litecoin ASIC miner at the moment will get you about $3.328 per day, $99.84 USD per month with the current conditions with a miner that can cot you about 15 times what you will earn in a month.

This makes the mining model of mine now and sell the coins immediately to cover the costs not so attractive at the current exchange rates and if you don’t have more up to date hardware or free electricity there is not much point to continue mining with old hardware. At least in the winter you could take advantage of the heat generated by the miners to save on heating at home for example, or use the cold temperatures outside for better cooling and save on extra electricity costs for properly cooling miners. The idea to mine now and save the coins to sell them later when the exchange rates are more favorable seems more attractive, but it is also riskier, especially for big mining operations that do have significant operational costs. With cloud mining operations the maintenance fees that you would have to pay are even higher than what you need to pay for electricity at home and you still need to purchase the hashrate itself. So the levels of daily profit can easily get even two times lower than the ones we calculated above if you mine at home and pay for electricity that is not too expensive in your region.