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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in the time of writing it is 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 precious over time but also more expensive for miners to produce.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several 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 math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they are actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called 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. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

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"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the exact number, they just must be the very 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 about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 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 though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm 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 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 catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, but they also have to be the very first to perform it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized 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 anchor from $500 into the tens of thousands. .

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

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and split the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high 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 the huge network of users 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 guideline.

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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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.

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