# What Does Trading Bitcoin Futures Mean?

In 2009it had been 50. In 2013, it was 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 precious over time but also more costly for miners to make.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things must occur. To begin with, they need to confirm 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction but are more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction shops.

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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 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 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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the goal is just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in 7 trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

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The opposite is also true. If computational power has been taken from this network, the problem adjusts downward to make mining simpler. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to the number I am thinking of.

"Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and visit our website Friend C supposes 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at workable answers, 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'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I'm not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am 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 difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here's the catch to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the ideal answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktops. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games tend to be more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the game.

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These can run from \$500 into the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so competitive that it can only be done profitably using all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost 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." .

A mining pool is a group of miners that combine their computing power and divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large 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 the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to remember that 10 minutes is a target, not a guideline.

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The bitcoin network More Help 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, however, the number of transactions made in 10 minutes will eventually exceed the number of transactions that can be processed in 10 minutes.