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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 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 total 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 is the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are far 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 must fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of work." What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that's less than or equal to the target 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 pc producing a hash below the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The reverse is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make 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 need 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 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 guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived 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 target answer of 19. .
"Now imagine that I present 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. Instead, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely difficult to guess the ideal answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the right hash, they also must be the first to do it.
Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving more information at the ideal answer before another miner has almost everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners can be performed competitively on normal desktops. 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. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably using all the most 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 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 blocks are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. In July 2017, mining pools and companies represented approximately 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a goal, not a guideline.
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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain each 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 that can be processed in 10 minutes.