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In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 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 speed 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 must happen. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much information each transaction stores.
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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target hash.
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In other words, it's a bet. .
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 computer producing a hash beneath the goal 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 correct. If computational power is taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .
"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There Discover More is 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 am not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, they also have to be the first to do it.
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These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. .
Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .
An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and divide 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 approximately 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a guideline.
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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, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.