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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 just 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is adjusted every 2016 blocks, or about every 2 weeks, with the aim of keeping rates of mining constant.

The reverse is also correct. If computational power has been taken off of the network, the difficulty adjusts downward to make mining easier. .

"Say I tell three friends 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 exact number, they just must be the very first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the number I'm thinking of.

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"Let us say I am 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've 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 closer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'guess what number I'm thinking of' question, but I am not asking only three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of prospective miners and I am thinking about 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 hard enough as is, here is the grab to the grab. Not only do bitcoin miners have to come up with the right hash, but they also must be the very first to do it.

Since 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 can be performed competitively on normal desktops. As time passes, however, miners recognized that graphics cards commonly used for video games were more effective at 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 competitive that it can only be done profitably with the latest up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or older models of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one pc is rarely enough to compete with exactly what miners call"mining pools." .

A mining pool is a group of miners who combine their computing power and split 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. .

Between 1 in 7 trillion chances, scaling difficulty levels, and also the massive 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 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. 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 which can be processed in 10 minutes.

This issue at the center of the bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. While bitcoin miners generally agree that something must be done in order to address scaling, there is less consensus regarding how do it. In the time of writing, click here for more there are two major solutions to this scaling problem, either (1) to decrease the amount of information needed to confirm each block or (2) to increase the number of transactions that each block can save.

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

In July 2017, bitcoin miners and mining companies representing approximately 80% to 90% of the networks computing power required to incorporate a program that will reduce the amount of data needed to confirm each block. In other words, 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 expression is an amalgamation of Segregated, meaning to separate, and Witness, which refers to signatures on a bitcoin transaction. Segregated Witness, then, means to separate transaction signatures from a block and attach them as an extended block.

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