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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 center 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 precious over time but also more expensive for miners to produce.
Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far 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 should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of labour ." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The reverse is also true. If computational power has been taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .
"Let us say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 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 nearer to the goal answer of 19. .
"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the right 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 think of the ideal hash, they also must be the very first to do it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with 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 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind 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 each 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin consumers continues to grow, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.