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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, in the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the middle of 2020 it will halve to 6.25. .

At this rate of halving, the entire 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 for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they're actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target 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. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 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 from this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends 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 specific number, they just must be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at viable answers, because 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 pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just three go right here friends, and I'm 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 hard enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the first look at more info to do it.

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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games were 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 to the tens of thousands. .

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

A mining pool is a try this out 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .