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In 2009, it was 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 rate of halving, the total number of bitcoin in circulation will approach a limit of 21 million, making the currency more scarce and valuable over time but also more expensive for miners to make.

Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are 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 complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they're doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal to the hash.

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In other words, it is a bet. .

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 computer producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. 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 I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the specific number, they simply must be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let's 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 supposes 12, then they have both technically came at workable 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 pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking only three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the very first to perform it.

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Because 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 performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics 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. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using review desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer 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 split the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large number of cubes 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 massive network of consumers 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 guideline.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin users 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.

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