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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at the time of writing it's 12.5, and sometime in the middle 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 precious over time but also more expensive for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can technically be as small 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 solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as 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 equivalent to the target hash.

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In other words, it's a gamble. .

The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, 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 level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or about every 2 weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The reverse is also correct. If computational power is taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about 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 specific number, they simply must be the very first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed 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 is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking Recommended Reading 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 of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite difficult to guess the right answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the ideal hash, but they also must be the first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can create hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that pictures 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 to the tens of thousands. .

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably using all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and split the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately high 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 the huge network of users 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.