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

Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth 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 shops.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a complex computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that is less than or equal to the 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 level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, 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 the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

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"Say I tell three friends 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 need to guess the specific number, they just have to be the very 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 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite 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 very first to perform it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be 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 into the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably with all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is rarely 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 high number of cubes are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. In July 2017, mining pools and companies represented roughly 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. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is moved here 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. 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.

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