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In 2009, it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in 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 costly for miners to make.

Here is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to 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 information each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equal to the 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. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power has been taken from this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and that I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the exact number, they simply have to be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they have both technically came 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 target answer of 19. .

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

If 1 in seven 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, they also must be the 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 produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, 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 competitive that it can only be done profitably with all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power 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 the massive 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 target, 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. As the network of bitcoin consumers 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.