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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 middle 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 valuable over time but also more costly for miners to make.

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

 

 

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of work" What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that's less than or equivalent 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every two 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 the network, the difficulty 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 I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the specific number, they just have to be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, but I'm not asking only three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.

 

 

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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 produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners recognized that pictures 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 aggressive it can only be done profitably using the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability and split 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 Resources difficulty levels, and also the massive 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 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. Since the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, however, 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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