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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at 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 precious over time but also more costly for miners to produce.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must 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 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 fix a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are actually doing is trying to come up with 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's a bet. .

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 beneath the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

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"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about 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 exact number, they just must be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not official source asking only three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .

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

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Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics 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 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can 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 pc 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, 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.

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