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In 2009, it 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 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 produce.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) value 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 stores.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they are actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the hash.

In other words, it is a gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. If computational power is taken from the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and that I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the very first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived 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 I pose the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, but 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 prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound click here now hard enough as is, here is the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, but they also have to be the first to perform it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners realized 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 it can only be done profitably using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high 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. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.