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In 2009, it 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 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 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 occur. To begin with, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they're actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the hash.

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In other words, it is a gamble. .

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 computer producing a hash below the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power is taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of 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 just have to be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both technically came at viable 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'm thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

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

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners you can look here could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably with all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools." .

A mining pool is a group of miners visit the website who combine their computing power 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 approximately 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 users 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 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.