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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the center 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 costly for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must 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 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 should solve a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're doing is trying to think of 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 is 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 seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a sheet 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 this number I'm thinking of.

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

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be 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 to the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive 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 cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and divide 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. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.

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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, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.

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