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In 2009, it had been 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 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 expensive for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.

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

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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and that 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 very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they have both technically came at viable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, 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 extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the ideal hash, they also must be the very first to perform 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 produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed 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 game.

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

Nowadays, 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 versions of ASICs, the cost 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" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability 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 approximately 80% to 90 percent 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 confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember 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 you can find out more every 10 minutes. Since 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.