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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the middle of 2020 it will halve to 6.25. .

At this rate 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 costly for miners to make.

Here's 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 little as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much information 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 science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of labour " What they are actually doing is trying to come up with 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's 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 beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken from this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and that 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 have to be the first person to figure any number that is 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 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 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'imagine what number his comment is here I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am 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 difficult to guess the right answer." .

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

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be 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 using the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who 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 roughly 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 users 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 sites each 10 minutes. Since 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.