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

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.

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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 referred to as a"proof of work." What they are doing is trying to think of 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 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 pc producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

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

"Let us say I'm 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 workable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's 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 I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking just three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking you could try these out about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the right answer." .

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

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized 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 that it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

An 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 roughly 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, 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 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.