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In 2009, it was 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 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 must happen. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often a few 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 must solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer 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 roughly every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .
"Let's 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 supposes 12, then they have both technically came at workable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .
"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm 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 about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going this hyperlink to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the ideal hash, they also must be the first to do it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably with the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the expense 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 roughly 80% to 90 percent 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 confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a goal, not a guideline.
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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 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.