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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the middle 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 valuable over time but also more expensive for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far 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 must solve a intricate computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equivalent to the 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 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 roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. If computational power is taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"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 just must be the first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let's say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose 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's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely 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 ideal hash, they also have to be the very first to do it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly used for video games tend to be more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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These can run from \$500 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability 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 approximately why not find out more 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling 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 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.