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In 2009, it was 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 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 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 theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must fix a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of labour ." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of 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 simply must be the first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There is 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 am thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in 7 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 right hash, they also must be the very first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining read 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 could be carried out 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 match.

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

Today, 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 versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large 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. However, its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.

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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.