When Bitcoin was introduced to the public over a decade ago, mining wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. A computer with an Internet connection was all an individual needed to mine BTC, and while there is some evidence to suggest Satoshi Nakamoto himself predicted the concept of mining farms and specialized mining hardware, it is unlikely he imagined it to grow the extent it has today.
Bitcoin mining rose to popularity with Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, as is evidenced by the accompanying increase in the network’s hashrate. The 2600% rise in BTC value that year saw a 500% increase in hashrate, indicating more miners were joining the network.
Since the price peaked at around $20,000, Bitcoin’s hashrate has risen ~900%. The cryptocurrency’s 85% depreciation in 2018 was not kind to Bitcoin miners, who saw a 95% decrease in profitability that year. While 2019 had been better for miners in terms of profitability, the improvements were relatively marginal and quite short-lived.