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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the center 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 is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.

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, known as 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 computer producing a hash below the target is 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 opposite is also true. If computational power is taken from the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about 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 have to guess the exact number, they simply must be the very first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

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

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. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably using the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc 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 massive network of users verifying this website 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 every 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin consumers 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.