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In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in the time of writing it is 12.5, and sometime in the middle of 2020 it will halve to 6.25. .
At this speed 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 expensive 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 happen. To begin with, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as little as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much data each transaction shops.
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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should fix a complex computational math problem, 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 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the target is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The opposite is also true. If computational power is taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining simpler. .
"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, because 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 I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I'm not asking only three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite difficult 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 need to think of the right hash, but they also have to be the very first to perform it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .
A 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 approximately 80% to 90 percent 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 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 every 10 minutes. Since the network of bitcoin users 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.