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In 2009, it was 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 total 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 produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as small as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as 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 equal to the hash.

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In other words, it's a gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is all about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

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"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 exact number, they simply must be the very first person to figure any number that link is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

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

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, 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 almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games were 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. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc is rarely see enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power 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 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, 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 every 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.

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