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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 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 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 expensive for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically 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 complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are actually doing is trying to come up with 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's a gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. If computational power is taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to make 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 have to guess the specific number, they simply must be the first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both technically came at workable answers, since 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 that I find out this here pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard 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 come up with the right hash, but they also have to be the first to do 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 could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were 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 with all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember 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 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.