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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in 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 total 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's 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 technically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often a few 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 must fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour " What they're doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that is less than or equivalent to the target hash.

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In other words, it is a bet. .

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 beneath 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 roughly every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the specific number, they simply must be the first person to figure 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 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There why not try this out is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

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

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

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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

Today, 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 elderly models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and split 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 approximately 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, 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 that can be processed in 10 minutes.