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In 2009, it 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 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's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value 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 stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a intricate computational science difficulty, 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's 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 goal 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 goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse 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 that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and that I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the specific number, they just have to be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

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

"Now imagine that I pose the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I am 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's going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch to the catch. Not only check this do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the very first to do it.

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Because 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. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be 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 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older 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 anonymous 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 approximately 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and 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 each 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, however, 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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