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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 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 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's the catch. In order to get 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 theoretically 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 must fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash below 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 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 off of the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

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

"Let's say I'm 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 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 target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I you can check here am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .

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

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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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be carried out competitively on normal desktops. 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 game.

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These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably using all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

A mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability and divide 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 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of consumers 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 each 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin users 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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