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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 center 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 costly for miners to produce.
Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several 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 fix a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour " What they are actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer 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 blocks, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken off of this 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 shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable 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'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .
If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, they also have to be the first to perform it.
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These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably using the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds 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." .
A mining pool is a group of miners who combine their internet 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 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. But its important to keep in mind 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 each 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.