Gareth Johnson
Gareth Johnson
Updated on January 12, 2022

Giga hash (GH) and tera hash (TH) are units of measurement that calculate the hash rate used to mine a specific cryptocurrency that’s based on the Proof of Work (PoW) protocol.

To understand hash rate better, we should first make it clear how mining a cryptocurrency, let’s say Bitcoin, works.

Bitcoin Mining

In simple terms, hashing means taking an input of any length and returning an output of fixed length in the context of cryptocurrencies. In order to decide which block of transactions will be added next on the blockchain, the miners enter in some sort of contest. Transactions are taken as an input and run through a hashing algorithm that returns an output of a fixed length. 

In rough terms, all miners get a riddle to solve, but you can’t solve this riddle logically. You have to guess the answer through a hashing algorithm, such as the famous SHA-256. Each time a miner wants to enter a block into the blockchain and get a reward, they are given a combination lock and need to guess the combination to enter the block.

Physical bitcoin on top of CPU on circuit board

Using hash functions is one of the most critical properties of Bitcoin and other PoW-based cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and many others, because hash functions are the backbones of the decentralized and autonomous nature of cryptocurrencies as they keep the network secure by encrypting the transactions.

For the Bitcoin blockchain, the amount of time between the generation of new Bitcoin blocks, also known as the block time, is around 10 minutes and it’s constant. To keep that constant, the riddle needs to get more complicated as more miners enter the game. Thus the hashing power required to mine a block of Bitcoin increases constantly.

What Is Hashing Power?

The hashing power, also called hash rate, is the number of combinations the miner can guess in a given amount of time. It’s a unit of measurement for computing power, that is, the processor’s ability to run the hashing algorithm, also known as hashing. Each attempt to run the algorithm creates a candidate for a unique block, but validating a block and consequently generating Bitcoin through the block prize takes a lot of hashes. Because hashing is a continuous effort, we use the term hashes per second.

The abbreviations of hash rates are metric prefixes that are in accordance with the International System of Units. The prefixes kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, and zett imply an increase by a factor of one thousand.

If you take a look at the hash rate denominations, you’ll see that 1TH/s equals 1 trillion hashes per second or 1,000 GH/s.

  1 kH/s : 1,000 (one thousand) hashes per second

  1 MH/s: 1,000,000 (one million) hashes per second.

  1 GH/s: 1,000,000,000 (one billion) hashes per second.

  1 TH/s: 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) hashes per second.

  1 PH/s: 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion) hashes per second.

  1 EH/s: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one quintillion) hashes per second.

  1 ZH/s: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one sextillion) hashes per second.

Sometimes Sol is used as a unit referring to solutions per second, and it generally can be substituted with MH/s without a problem.

For example, the Bitmain Antminer S7 ASIC can reach a hash rate of 4.73Th/s on the SHA-256 algorithm when mining Bitcoin. On the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU has a hash rate of around 150 MH/s on the DaggerHashimoto algorithm for mining Ethereum. As you see, the hash rates alone are not an adequate metric to compare devices. The hash power metric depends on the algorithm, and the algorithm is dictated by the cryptocurrency to be mined.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hash rate is a fundamental metric that helps you understand cryptocurrency mining better. Mining is highly computational and power-hungry, so the hash power lets us compare the mining hardware’s capacity and efficiency. However, comparing hash rates could be misleading, as the hash rates on different algorithms are basically different units. Plus, there are other measures you need to take into account in order to profit from mining Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, such as the energy consumption rates of the devices you’re using or the durability of the hardware.