The price of bitcoin is up ~30% over the last three months, but the network hash rate is only up ~5%. How can this be explained? I assume that new, highly efficient mining chips have been produced every week of the last three months. Therefore I would expect the global pool of miners to be able to hash more with the same amount of electricity. Since an increase in block reward revenue (in terms of USD) is proportional to an increase in price... I would have expected a "greater than 30%" increase in hash rate. Could part of the explanation be volatility in the price of electricity? Were miners operating unprofitably three months ago and have since then come to their senses? Appreciate your theories. graph of Hash rate
The price was pretty stable and very low for most of those three months, it only picked up significantly in the last few weeks.
As the price had been low and in a long-term down-trend, the profit margin would be extraordinarily slim, making the market even more competitive. This should have limited additional investments by current players, and curbed interest of new players to enter the mining market. It appears that any technological advancements have only driven out less efficient rigs and improved profit margins slightly.
As the acquisition cost of mining rigs represents a significant portion of the total operation cost, I would assume that short swings would only cause less efficient hardware to be turned back on for the time being, but a major wave of new acquisitions would need a pronounced long-term up-trend. Even if the current swing is perceived as such, order, delivery, and taking into operation will lag behind the trend some weeks to months.