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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in the time of writing it's 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'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) 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a complex computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work" 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 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted 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 from the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make 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 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 first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 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 nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

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

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.

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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time view passes, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be more effective at 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 competitive that it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc link is rarely enough to compete with what 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 cubes 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 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.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, helpful resources with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin consumers 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.