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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 about 7,184,404,942,701. That is, the chance of a computer producing a hash below the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That amount is adjusted every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

The opposite is also correct. If computational power is taken from the network, the difficulty 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 piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't have to guess the exact number, they simply have to be the very first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

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"Let's 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 supposes 12, then they have both technically came at workable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There is no'extra credit' for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine that I pose the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, however I am not asking just 3 friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking of a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer." .

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If 1 in seven trillion doesn't sound difficult enough as is, here is the catch to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, but they also must be the 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 create hashes. Only a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be performed competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, however, miners realized that pictures cards commonly used for video games were more capable of mining than desktops and graphics processing units (GPU) came to dominate the game.

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

Today, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably using the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the cost of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is rarely enough to compete with exactly 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 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 odds, scaling difficulty levels, and the massive network of users verifying transactions, one block of transactions is verified roughly every 10 minutes. But its important to keep in mind that 10 minutes is a goal, not a rule.

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The bitcoin network can process about seven transactions per second, with transactions being logged in the blockchain each 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 center of the bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. Even though bitcoin miners generally agree that something click now must be resource done to address scaling, there is less consensus about how do it. In the time of writing, there are two big solutions to this 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 will cope with scaling by allowing for much more information to be processed each 10 minutes. .

In July 2017, bitcoin miners and mining companies representing approximately 80% to 90% of the networks computing hop over to here power voted to incorporate a program that would decrease the amount of data needed to verify each block. That is, they went with Solution 1.

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The app which miners voted to add to 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 from a block and join them within an extended block.

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