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In other words, it is a bet. .

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

The reverse is also true. If computational power has been taken off of this network, the problem adjusts downward to earn mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends that I'm thinking of 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 need to guess the specific number, they simply must be the first person to guess any number that is less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

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"Let us say I'm thinking of 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 have both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I'm 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 is going to be quite hard to guess the ideal answer." .

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

Because bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has everything to do with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners realized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were more capable of 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 it can only be done profitably with all the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older versions of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit at your disposal, one pc 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 divide the mined bitcoin between participants. A disproportionately large number of blocks 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. .

Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the huge network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. However, its important to keep in mind 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.

This our website dilemma at the heart of the bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. Even though bitcoin miners generally agree that something has to be done in order to address scaling, there is less consensus regarding how do it. At the time of writing, there are two major solutions to this scaling problem, either (1) to lower the amount of information needed to verify each block or (2) to increase the number of transactions that every block can store.

Solution 2 will deal with scaling by allowing for much more information to be processed each 10 minutes. .

In July 2017, bitcoin miners and mining companies representing roughly 80% to 90 percent of their networks computing electricity voted to incorporate a program that will decrease the amount of data needed to confirm each block. That is, they went with Solution 1.

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

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