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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at 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 precious over time but also more expensive for miners to make.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) value 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 add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational math problem, also called a"proof of labour " What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equivalent 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the goal is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted 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 from the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

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

"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 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 I pose the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I'm 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 quite difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

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

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were 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 it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

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

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

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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 consumers continues to grow, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed More about the author in 10 minutes.

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