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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 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 speed 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 happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically 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 intricate computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're actually doing is trying to think of 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 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 target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about every 2 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 this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

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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 have to guess the exact number, they just have to be the first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to the number I am thinking these details of.

"Let us say I'm 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, 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 present the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking just three friends, and I am 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's going to be extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the ideal hash, but they also have to be the first to do it.

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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 can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were 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. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably with the latest 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 split the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high number of cubes 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 odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind 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 each 10 minutes. Since 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.

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