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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 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 costly for miners to produce.

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) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far 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 fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are actually 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. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power is taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn 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 sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the exact number, they just have to be the very first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let us 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 guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin Recommended Reading miners have to think of the ideal hash, they also have to 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 create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games were more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the game.

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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 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 available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

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

Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But 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. As the network of bitcoin consumers continues to grow, however, the number of my explanation transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.