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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it was 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 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 to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically be as little as 1 transaction but are far more often several 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 fix 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's less than or equivalent to the hash.
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In other words, it is a bet. .
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 pc producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven 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 reverse is also correct. If computational power has been taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .
"Let's say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both technically came at viable 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 I present the'guess 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. Rather, I am 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 hard to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's click to read the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the right hash, but they also must be the first to do it.
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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 with all 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 at your disposal, one computer is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .
A 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% of bitcoin computing try this site power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of users 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 rule.
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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain every 10 minutes. As the network of bitcoin consumers continues 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.