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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it had been 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 rate of halving, the entire 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 make.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. To begin with, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as small 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of work." What they are actually doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equal 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 beneath the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also true. If computational power has been taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and 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 guess any number that's less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

"Let us 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 supposes 12, then they have both technically came at viable answers, since 16<19 read the article and 12<19. There's no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin try this site miners need to think of the ideal hash, they also have to be the very first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the game.

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

Nowadays, 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 cost of energy consumption actually surpasses 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 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 the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a goal, not a guideline.