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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, in 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's 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 small as 1 transaction but are more often several thousand, depending on how much information each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must fix a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of work." What they're doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is adjusted 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 correct. If computational power is taken off of the network, the problem 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 need to guess the exact number, they just have to be the very first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let's say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 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 continue reading this to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess 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. Instead, 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 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 have to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the first to do it.

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games were more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) additional resources came to dominate the match.

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These can run from \$500 to 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 models 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 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 odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a rule.