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In 2009it had been 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 speed 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 costly for miners to make.
Here is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction stores.
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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of work" What they're actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target 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 target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 blocks, 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 has been taken off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .
"Say I tell three friends 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 have to be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.
"Let's say I'm thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both technically came at workable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's 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, but I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is index going to be quite difficult to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.
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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be more effective at 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. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably using the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older 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 what what miners call"mining pools" .
A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing ability and split the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large number of cubes 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 chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of consumers dig this verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind 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 every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin consumers continues official source 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.