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In 2009, it was 50. In 2013, it had been 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 total 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 is the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) value of transactions, which can theoretically 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 put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a intricate computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's 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 all about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, 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 has been taken from the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .
"Let's say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they 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 is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of 19. .
"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I am 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 am 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 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the ideal reference hash, but they also must be the 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 all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is seldom enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .
An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power and divide 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% of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge 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 target, 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, but the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions which can be processed in 10 minutes.