In 2009, it had been 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 rate of halving, the entire number of bitcoin in circulation will approach a limit of 21 million, making the currency more scarce and valuable over time but also more expensive for miners to produce.

Here's the catch. In order to get bitcoin miners to actually earn bitcoin from verifying transactions, two things have to occur. First, they must verify 1 megabyte (MB) worth of transactions, which can technically be as small as 1 transaction but are far more often a few thousand, depending on how much information each transaction stores.

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Second, in order to put in a block of transactions to the blockchain, miners must solve a complex computational math problem, also referred to as a"proof of work" What they're doing is trying to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, called a"hash," that's less than or equivalent to the 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 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 cubes, or roughly every 2 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 off of this network, the difficulty adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

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

"Let us say I'm thinking about 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 viable answers, since 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'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, but I am not asking just 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 of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard 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 have to think of the ideal hash, but they also have to be the first to perform 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. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that pictures cards commonly used for video games were more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing Check This Out units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive that it can only be done profitably using the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly models 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 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 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 percent 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 verified 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 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 that can be processed in 10 minutes.