In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it was 25, at 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 is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much information 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 science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that is 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 below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends 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 specific number, they just have to be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking of 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 workable answers, because 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 present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking just three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am 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 ideal answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners realized 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 game.

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

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably with 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 generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine hop over to these guys their computing power and split 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 approximately 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, 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 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. As the network of bitcoin users 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.