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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it was 25, in the time of writing it is 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 expensive for miners to make.
Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are 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 must solve a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour " What they are doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equivalent 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The opposite is also true. If computational power has been taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .
"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .
"Now imagine that I present the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, but they also have to be the very first to do it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can check this only be done profitably with 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 available, 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 power 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 percent of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, not a guideline.
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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, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.