Analysts at research and brokerage Bernstein highlighted the unexpected benefits that stable prices have brought to cryptocurrency miners. Despite the lack of major price changes, currently hovering between the high $50,000s and low $60,000s, the situation has proven favorable for mining operations, particularly after Bitcoin’s fourth halving on April 20.

The halving, which reduced the reward for mining Bitcoin transactions by half, was expected to strain the mining industry. However, the subsequent “flattish” price action has eased competitive pressures, enabling miners to maintain profitability even as operational costs doubled. 

This phenomenon has resulted in adjustments in mining dynamics, including a 10% drop in the Bitcoin hash rate, from a seven-day moving average of 638 EH/s to 579 EH/s, leading up to the most recent difficulty adjustments.

Hash rate refers to how much revenue a crypto miner can expect to make daily from 1 PH/s or 1 TH/s of hashing power.

This decrease in hash rate has also led to longer average block times of roughly 10 minutes and 36 seconds, slightly above the Bitcoin protocol’s target of 10 minutes. The mining difficulty, a measure that ensures new blocks are produced every ten minutes on average, dropped 6% to 83.1 trillion hashes, marking one of the strangest decreases since the crypto winter of December 2022.

“Flattish Bitcoin prices are actually beneficial for the incumbent lower-cost miners,” stated Bernstein analysts.

 “It allows them to consolidate market share and execute aggressive capital expenditure and merger and acquisition plans without the treadmill effect of endlessly increasing outlays just to maintain market position.”

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Among the top miners, CleanSpark (NASDAQ:) and Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:) are noted for operating at best-in-class production costs with strong Bitcoin balances and cash positions. They also expanded their operations, with Riot planning to triple its actual capacity to 31.5 EH/s at a new site in Corsicana. 

CleanSpark is also acquiring new sites in Mississippi and Wyoming adding up to its 75MW of capacity. 

Bernstein expects these leading miners to continue their market share consolidation through both organic growth and acquisitions. As such, the report expects that CleanSpark and Riot will ultimately control about 6% of the network by 2025, up from around 4.7% currently.

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