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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in 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 is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far 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 complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour " What they're doing is trying to think of 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 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 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every 2 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 this network, the problem 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 simply must be the first person to guess any number that is 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 shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch 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.

Since 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 could be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games were more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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These can run from \$500 into the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably using the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and split 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 approximately 80% to 90% Get the facts of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and 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 target, not a guideline.