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In 2009, it had been 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 speed of halving, the entire number of bitcoin in circulation will approach a limit of 21 million, making the currency more scarce and valuable over time but also more expensive for miners to make.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target hash.

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In other words, it's a bet. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking of 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 have to guess the specific number, they just must be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B read the article guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at workable 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 that I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .

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

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

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

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

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

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly a knockout post 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. As the network of bitcoin consumers continues to grow, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.

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