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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 speed of halving, the total 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 for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as small 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 should solve a complex computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they are 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 is a bet. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken off of the 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 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'm thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both technically came at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even Learn More Here though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking only three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, 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 seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, they also must be the very 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 produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games were more capable of 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. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably with the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power 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 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 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 each 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin consumers 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.