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In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the center of 2020 it will halve to 6.25. .

At this rate 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 to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they need to confirm 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 must fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of work." What they are actually doing is trying to come up with 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 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 beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

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"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 specific number, they just 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 us 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 guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, because 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 present the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, however I am not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I am 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 hard enough as special info is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the ideal hash, they also have to be the very first to do 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. Over time, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly utilized 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 that it can only be done profitably using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools." .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high 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 also the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to keep in mind 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 every 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, but 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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