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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it was 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 precious over time but also more expensive for miners to produce.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as small as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that is 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the exact number, they simply must be the first person to guess any number that is 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 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've 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 target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I present the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I'm 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'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the ideal 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, but they also have to be the very first to perform it.

Since 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 carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be 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. .

Nowadays, 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 computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power 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 approximately 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.

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The bitcoin network can browse around here process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain each 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin consumers 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.