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In 2009it had been 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 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 costly for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is 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. 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 7 trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or about every 2 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 difficulty adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about 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 first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking of 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 have both technically came at viable answers, because 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 that I present the'imagine 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'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 extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the ideal hash, they also have to be the first to perform it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be more capable of 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. .

Today, 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 models of ASICs, the great site 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 exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

A 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. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember that 10 minutes is a goal, 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, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.