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In 2009it was 50. In 2013, it was 25, at the time of writing it's 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 make.
Here is the catch. In order for 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 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 fix a intricate computational science difficulty, also referred to as a"proof of labour ." What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, known as a"hash," that is 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. That is, the chance of a pc producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount 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 is taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining easier. .
"Let's say I am thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose 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 goal answer of 19. .
"Now imagine I present the'imagine what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking just three friends, and check over here I am over at this website not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking of 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 hard enough as is, here is the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the ideal hash, they also have to be the very first to perform it.
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These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. .
Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with all the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses 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 that combine their computing ability and split 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 chances, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember 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 each 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.