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In 2009, it had been 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 rate 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 expensive for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must fix a complex computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." 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. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the aim 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 difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that 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 have to guess the specific number, they simply must be the 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 guesses 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 I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the ideal answer." .

If 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 right hash, they also have to be the very first to perform it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right 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 performed 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 to the tens of thousands. .

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

A mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power and split 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 odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember 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 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.