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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 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 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 costly for miners to produce.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically be as little 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're doing is trying to think of 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'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 computer producing a hash beneath the goal 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 true. If computational power is taken from the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

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"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of 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 have to guess the exact number, they just have to 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'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 theoretically arrived at viable 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 I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I am asking millions of would-be miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in 7 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 right hash, they also have to be the first to perform it.

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Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games tend to be more effective at 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. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models check my blog of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power 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 chances, 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 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, 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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