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In 2009it 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 valuable over time but also more expensive for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." 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 beneath the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is 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 of 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 have to guess the specific number, they see this page simply must be the first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking just three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, they also must be the very first to do it.

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Because 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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly utilized 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 to the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive 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 surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc 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 blocks 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 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, 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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