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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it had been 25, in 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 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 really earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must happen. First, they need to verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often several thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.
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Second, in order to add a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners should solve a intricate computational science difficulty, also called 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 equivalent to the target hash.
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In other words, it's a bet. .
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 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 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.
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The reverse is also true. If computational power is taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .
"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable 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 present the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I Learn More am not asking only three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm 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 hard to guess the right 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 come up with the ideal hash, they also must be the first to perform it.
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These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. .
Today, bitcoin mining is so competitive 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 exceeds the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one computer is seldom enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools" .
An mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing ability and use this link 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 chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to remember 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 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.