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In 2009, it 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 total number of bitcoin in circulation will approach a limit of 21 million, making the currency more scarce and precious over time but also more costly for miners to make.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they need to verify 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 stores.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called 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 beneath the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

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"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and 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 very first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

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

"Now imagine I present the'guess 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 am asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking of 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 is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the ideal hash, they also have to be the first to perform it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly used for video games tend to be more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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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 using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue official site 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 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember 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. As 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.

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