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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 precious over time but also more costly for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a complex computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of labour " What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal to the hash.

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. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level 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 the network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends 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 need to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let's 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 supposes 12, then they have both technically came at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

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

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, they also have to be the hop over to these guys first to do it.

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. As time passes, however, miners recognized 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 game.

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

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably using 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 at your disposal, one pc is rarely 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 large number of cubes 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 confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a goal, not a rule.