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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the center 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 produce.
Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. To begin with, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often a few 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 should solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're 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 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 computer producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about 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 from the network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .
"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .
"Now imagine that I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm 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 extremely hard to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, but they also must be the first to do it.
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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 using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .
A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and divide 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 roughly 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, 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 that can be processed in 10 minutes.