BTC Hashrate Gains in 2021. Will China Still Rule?

How many ASICs will hit farm shelves in 2021? What's the redistribution of global hashing power?

China-based bitcoin mining industry leaders met for a private discussion last week. The group predicts shipment of 200,000-1,000,000 ASICs by 2022. This equates to a 20-100 EH/s increase of the Bitcoin network. BTC hashrate gains in 2021 will push the network’s size to a maximum of 240 EH/s.

Currently the bulk of this year’s hardware orders are destine for the United States. So, what does this mean for network distribution? Will North America and China compete for the lead, or will China’s status quo remain?

In this analysis, Miner Daily finds that North America has little potential to overtake China by year’s end. Unless a lot more investors from the region jump into Bitcoin mining.

Meeting Participants

On Jan. 25th, Carbon Chain Value and Wu Shuo Blockchain hosted a dialogue which tackled the topic of ‘bitcoin mining in the 2021 bull market’. Contributors were: Ao Gang who is the V.P. of Chip Technology, Wang Hongyong who is the Exec. Director of Yibang International, Jiang Zhihua, a Partner/COO of ViaBTC, and finally, Yao Wanni who heads Fire Coin Mine Operation.

ASICs Sales to North America

In the meeting, farm operator Yao Wanni remarks that whilst Chinese investors continue to sink money into bitcoin mining, North American interest in mining has catapulted thanks to ASIC financing. “The whole mining industry in North America is booming” Yao states.

Exactly How Many ASICs?

At present, at least 200,000 units will arrive in North America by 2022. Additionally, future or unpublicized deals may increase this figure over the next eleven months.

What are the exact figures? Listed below are North American (USA/Canada) companies expecting ASIC deliveries over the course of this year. Data collected by Miner Daily from manufacturer blogs and media sources on Jan. 29, 2021.

CompanyManufacturerASIC TotalsAdded Hash Power
VBit TechnologiesBitmain3,000 x S19s285 – 330 PH
MarathonBitmain70,000 x S19s6,650 – 7,700 PH
RIOT BlockchainBitmain15,000 x S19s1,500 PH
Core ScientificBitmain58,000 x S19s5,510 – 6,380 PH
Canaan Creative6,000 x A1246540 PH
HIVE BlockchainCanaan Creative6,400 x A1246576 PH
BlockstreamMicroBT≈10,000 x M30s860 – 112 PH
Hut 8MicroBT5,400 x M30s475 PH
Compute NorthMicroBT14,000 x M30s1,204 – 1,568 PH
TOTALS187,800 ASICs17.6 – 20.2 EH/s
Notes: Canaan announced deals with Drone Energy, Bitfury, and Arctos Capital on their website, although purchase prices or unit counts were not publicized. BTBT, who operate mines in US and China, report launching 18,000 Antminers in late Dec 2020. CleanSpark to add 5,900 ASICs, or 300 PH/s to its mining capacity by early 2021, although further information is unknown. Update Feb 2nd: Bitcoin Magazine reports Marathon ordered 107,000 Bitmain units to be delivered in 2021.

Mind you, Wang warns that both TSMC and Samsung have no more production capacity for bitcoin mining microprocessing chips. Additionally, ASICs from manufacturers are sold out until at least the fall.

What do the manufacturers have to say about this? Not much…

At the moment, MicroBT notifies customers of potential shipment delays due to Corona virus and other factors on their website. Whilst Bitmain released a statement last week which ensures deliveries will not be affected by Co-Founder Jihan Wu’s amicable exit, with no reference to chip shortages or delays. Further, Canaan promises to deliver A1246s throughout the summer without acknowledging any delivery hindrances.

Chinese Actors in 2021

Wang Hongyong suggests that ASIC manufacturers may sell up to 800,000 more ASICs this year, and Chinese mining operations are always expanding. For example, 500.com, a Chinese sports lottery firm, announced plans to acquire Bitmain and MicroBT machines from an unnamed seller. Furthermore, demand for newer generation mining rigs in hydropower regions in China is very strong.

will North America and China Compete for #1 Hasher?

Hashrate Analysis

First, let’s get our bearings by recalling the current network status. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance Bitcoin Mining Map (April 2020), top network players are: China 65%, North America 8.5%, Russia 7%, Kazakhstan 6%, and Iran 4%. These five countries account for 90% of the April 2020 hashrate, which was a maximum average of 115 EH/s.

So where are we at now? Between April 2020 and January 2021, the hashrate increased by 35 EH/s, or 23% (avg. measured at monthly peaks from BitInfoCharts, Blockchain). This equals just under 400,000 new generation ASICs, at an average of 90 TH/s. January 2021’s network hashrate average is 150 EH/s.

If this unaccounted 35 EH/s from April to January is equally distributed between top contenders who we know received the bulk of new ASICs in 2020, the following global distribution is implied (values rounded up):


Hahsrate Distribution Scenarios

Based on the following theoretical analysis, North America could steal the lead of the BTC hashrate from China in 2021…. But only by purchasing at least an additional 630,000 ASICs, which is highly unlikely.

How did we conclude this? If China produces 200,000 – 1,000,000 Bitcoin mining machines in 2021, we can assume some scenarios:

  1. 20 EH/s goes exclusively to North America, and no one else gains hashing power due to production or shipment delays.
  2. 100 EH/s demand is produced, but supplied exclusively to North America.
  3. 20 EH/s goes to America as planned, and the remaining 80 EH/s distributes evenly to the rest of world.
  4. 20 EH/s goes to America as planned, and the remaining 80 EH/s allocates to China.

Scenario Results

Under all conditions China continues to lead Bitcoin’s geographical miner distribution, except for Scenario 2. In the second simulation, North America increases ASIC supplies by five times the amount currently on order, thereby stealing the #1 position from China.


BTC Hashrate Gains in 2021 Summary

From our investigation we find that in order for USA and Canada to take the hashing power lead over China, they must secure a minimum of 63 more EH/s this year. This equates to an extra order of 630,000 ASICs, with an average of 100 TH/s, costing nearly $4 billion dollars. Thus, it is most probable that China continues to possess the majority of Bitcoin’s mining power in 2021.

But, if the rumors of a 200 TH/s machine from MicroBT are true, it could be a game changer for BTC hashrate gains in 2021. In this case, North America would require a delivery of 315,000 of the mystical M50S machines to dominate Bitcoin’s network by 2022.

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