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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the center 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 costly for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 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 science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour " What they're 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 gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and 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 simply have to be the first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed 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 is 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'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, but they also have to be the very first to perform 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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the game.

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

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

An mining sites pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high number of blocks 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 odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to keep in mind 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 each 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin consumers continues to grow, however, 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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