Miners work on finding blocks but don't sent anything until they find the block.

Considering that, how can sites like bitcoincharts.com display a graph of the network hash rate?

  • 2
    If I flip a fair coin repeatedly, and tell you that I found 1 billion heads, it's (practically) statistically certain that I flipped the coin very nearly 2 billion times. The same sort of extrapolation can determine the total network power based on the success rate.
    – Tim S.
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


The hashrate can be calculated from the expected rate of finding a block (144 a day), the actual rate of finding a block and the current difficulty.

So let's calculate the average hash_rate for a single day:

expected_blocks = 144
difficulty = 11187257.461361 # this is on May 22nd 2013
blocks_found = 155 # Also May 22nd 2013
hash_rate = (blocks_found/expected_blocks*difficulty * 2**32 / 600)

The reason we use a day to average out the hash_rate is that taken block by block the variance would be really high and we would not get anything meaningful.

According to WolframAlpha this gives us an averagge hash_rate for the 22nd May 2013 of 86.19 THashes/s. Numbers of course may vary depending on how you chose your interval, which appears to be the reason numbers don't match with the ones on Blockchain.info

  • 1
    I know this answer was given 5 years ago, but why 2**32? I'm presuming it has something to do with the 256-bit hashing function used, but some clarification would be awesome :)
    – glowkeeper
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 13:34
  • 1
    @glowkeeper see bitcoin.stackexchange.com/a/30225/60443
    – JBaczuk
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 20:39
  • Thanks, @JBaczuk! Looks good! I should probably check that answer against mine (bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/79774/…), but I'm currently knee-deep in code, so I'll report back later, once I've done some back-of-the-envelope-calc's :)
    – glowkeeper
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 9:53

The network hash rate can be statistically inferred from the difficulty and the rate at which blocks are found. It's just a more complex version of the fact that if you know that someone is flipping coins and heads comes up 800 times an hour, they're flipping about 1,600 coins an hour.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.