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In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it was 25, in 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 precious over time but also more costly for miners to produce.

Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the 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. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken from this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a piece 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 figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 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 nearer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but 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 find out 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, they also have to be the first to perform it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, 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 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably using all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds 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 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 chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain each 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.