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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the middle of 2020 it will halve to 6.25. .

At this rate of halving, the total number of bitcoin in circulation will approach a limit of 21 million, making the currency more scarce and precious over time but also more costly for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal to the target hash.

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In other words, it is a bet. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power is taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and that I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the very first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, but they also have to be the first to perform it.

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Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at check out here the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly used for video games were more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large number of blocks are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. In July 2017, mining pools and companies represented roughly 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember that 10 minutes is a goal, not a guideline.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.

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