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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, at the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the middle 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 produce.

Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a complex computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equivalent to the hash.

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In other words, it is 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 below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the problem 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 I write that number on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the specific number, they just must be the first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let's say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since official statement 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'm thinking of' question, however 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 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 seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, they also have to be the first to do it.

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Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized 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 using all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds 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" .

An mining pool is a group of miners who 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 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But 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 each 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin users 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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