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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, in 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 valuable over time but also more costly for miners to produce.
Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they must confirm 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 information each transaction shops.
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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of labour ." What they are doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that is less than or equal 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 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 7 trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or roughly every 2 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 the network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .
"Say I tell three friends that 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 have to guess the exact number, they just must be the first person to guess any number that is 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 lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 16<19 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 that I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, click this I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be quite hard 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 need to think of the right hash, they also have to be the very first to perform 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. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized 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 competitive that it can only be done profitably using the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly 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." .
An mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power 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% of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, 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. Since the network of bitcoin users continues to grow, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.