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In 2009it had been 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 expensive for miners to make.
Here's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. To begin with, they must confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as little 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a complex computational science difficulty, also called a"proof of work" What they're actually 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 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 just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly 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 difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .
"Let's say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 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 that I pose the'guess what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely difficult to guess the ideal answer." .
If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to think of the ideal hash, but they also must be the very first to do it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably using the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense 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 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 approximately 80% to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a goal, 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 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.