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In other words, it's a gamble. .

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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 beneath the target 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 goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

The opposite is also true. 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 need to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm thinking of.

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"Let's say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21, they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both technically came 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 target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I'm thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite difficult to guess the ideal answer." .

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If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here is the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to think of the ideal hash, but they also must be the very 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. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. Over time, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly utilized for video games were more effective at mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the match.

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 rarely enough to compete with what what miners call"mining pools" .

A mining pool is a group of miners who 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 percent of bitcoin computing power. .

Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, 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 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. As the network of bitcoin consumers 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.

This dilemma at the heart of the bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. see this site While bitcoin miners generally agree that something has to be done in order to address scaling, there is less consensus about how do it. In the time of writing, there are two big solutions to the scaling problem, either (1) to lower the amount of information needed to confirm each block or (2) to increase the number of transactions that every block can save.

Solution 2 would deal with scaling by allowing for more information to be processed every 10 minutes. .

In July 2017, bitcoin miners and mining companies representing roughly 80% to 90 percent of the networks computing electricity voted to incorporate a program that would reduce the amount of information needed to verify each block. In other see here now words, they went with Solution 1.

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The app that miners voted to increase the bitcoin protocol is called a segregated witness, or SegWit. This expression is an amalgamation of Segregated, meaning to different, and Witness, which refers to signatures on a bitcoin transaction. Segregated Witness, then, means to separate transaction signatures out of a block and join them as an extended block.

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