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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 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 make.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal to the 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken from the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends 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 need to guess the specific number, they simply must be the very first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking about 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 closer to the goal answer of 19. .

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

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

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything visit to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. 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 game.

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These can run from \$500 to the original source the tens of thousands. .

Today, 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 surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability and divide 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% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and 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 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. As the network of bitcoin consumers 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.