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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in 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 costly 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 happen. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much information each transaction stores.

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

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In other words, it's a gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is all 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 seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken from the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"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 specific number, they just have to be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, they also have to be the very first to perform it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games were 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 to the tens of thousands. check my source .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably with all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom 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 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 chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of users 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 every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.