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In 2009it had been 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 expensive for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must 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 shops.

Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equivalent 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. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of this 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 exact number, they just have to be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking of 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 technically came at viable answers, since 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'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'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, they also must be the first 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 could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics 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. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably using the most 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 pc is seldom enough to compete with exactly 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. additional info But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a guideline.