The Revolutionary Guard of Iran has seized a Panamanian flagged tanker which was allegedly smuggling fuel (archived). The smuggling operation was apparently discovered after Revolutionary Guard boats responded to a distress call issued by the tanker. The ship was apparently being loaded with fuel from Iran for transit to foreign ships. This would mean the ship's seizure is a matter of Iranian law enforcement rather than a tit-for-tat response to foreign piracy conducted against ships carrying Iranian oil at sea.
At this time the foreign party receiving smuggled Iranian oil has yet to identify itself.
Amid deep cold sweeping the heart of the US, General Motors and others have suspended manufacturing in Michigan amid a natural gas shortage (archived). Residential users are being begged to lower their thermostats amid sub zero temperatures and wind chills well below the -40 fahrenheit/celsius intersection point. Last winter Airstrip One faced a severe lack of natural gas as an importer, but the US prides itself on a bountiful natural gas extraction industry. It turns out living in a "developed" country doesn't offer the same protection from winter's chill as it once did. Blame is being laid on a single fire at a single gas compression station.
Chinese automotive and technology giant BYD annouced plans to operate the largest rechargable battery factory in the world by the end of the year. English language publications are drawing comparisons to Tesla and their "gigafactory" painting BYD as a fellow alternate, Chinese Universe startup competing with Tesla (archived). This popular English language posturing ignores BYD's established position selling conventionally fueled vehicles and industial equipment inside and outside of China .
Australia's Hunter Energy will be bringing the coal fired Redbank power station back online in order to offer cheap pre-grid electricity to miners (archived). Bringing the mothballed power station back to active use is expected to take less than one year. Prepare more of this.
Mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network skyrocketed nearly twenty percentage points to 1103400932964.29248047 from 922724699725.96276855 to a new all time high.
While mining difficulty sits at an all time high, the price of Bitcoin reported by fiat/Bitcoin interfaces is sitting roughly twenty percent below the most recent all time high established near the beginning of this month. The United States dollar recovered a small bit of ground against Bitcoin when the racist government of the People's Republic of China decided to ban trading on their local fiat/Bitcoin interfaces. This move by the Chicoms was followed by the a constant stream of "Bitcoin is valueless" editorials in the legacy USian "financial" fake news press.
The mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network has risen ~3.9 percent to 922724699725.96276855 from 888171856257.32055664 for a new all time high. This is ever so slightly above the previous all time high of 923233068448.90527344 set in the first difficulty adjustment following the schism of a Roger Ver-ified altcoin away from the Blockchain. The continued efforts propping up the Roger Ver-ified chain is proving to be a very expensive proposition for the involved fiat interests.
At the latest Bitcoin network mining difficulty adjustment, difficulty fell approximately 3.8 percent from the all time high of 923233068448.90527344 to a new second highest all time value of 888171856257.32055664 today. Aside from typical variance, the possibility of some hashpower inflicting woe upon a certain altcoin and heroically repatriating BTC value may have contributed to this small drop in difficulty.
Mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network has increased from 860221984436.22229004 to 923233068448.90527344 for an increase of approximately 7.32 percent to a new all time high. In this adjustment period a hard forked altcoin separated from the Bitcoin network to zero meaningfully apparent impact on Bitcoin mining, a 7-ish percent increase of mining difficulty to a new all time high is a very typical . Meanwhile, the altcoin is wrestling with its own precarious difficulty situation.
Today, Bitcoin network mining difficulty climbed from the previous all time high of 804525194568.13183594 to 860221984436.22229004 for a new all time high for an increase of approximately 6.92 percent.