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In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it was 25, in the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the center 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 make.

Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value 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 fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are 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 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the target is 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 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 simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about 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 have to guess the exact number, they simply must be the first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking about 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 viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I present the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, but they also have to be the very first to perform 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 carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over check time, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were 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 to the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably using all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc is rarely enough to compete with what 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 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 consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, 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 each 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.