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In 2009it was 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 speed 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's the catch. In order for bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to happen. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically 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 solve a complex computational math problem, also called a"proof of work." What they're actually doing is trying to come up with a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is less than or equivalent to the 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That amount is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The reverse is also correct. If computational power has been taken from this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .
"Let us say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both technically came at viable answers, his comment is here 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 I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking only 3 friends, and I am 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 quite difficult to guess the right answer." .
If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the very first to perform it.
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These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. .
Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive it can only be done profitably using all 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 at your disposal, one computer is rarely 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 blocks are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. In July 2017, mining pools and companies represented approximately 80% to 90% of bitcoin computing power. .
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Between 1 in 7 trillion odds, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive network of consumers 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 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.