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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 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 rate 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 costly 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. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically 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 add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour " What they are doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called 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 all 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 seven trillion. That amount is corrected 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 this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about 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 need 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 am 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 have both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

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

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch to the look these up catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost 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 recognized that graphics cards commonly used 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 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably using all 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 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 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 approximately 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 users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin consumers continues to grow, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the useful site number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.

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