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In other words, it is a gamble. .

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The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is about 7,184,404,942,701. In other words, the chance of a computer producing a hash beneath the target is 1 in 7,184,404,942,701 less than 1 in seven trillion. That level is corrected every 2016 cubes, or roughly every two weeks, with the goal of keeping rates of mining constant.

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

"Say I tell three friends I'm thinking about a number between 1 and 100, and that 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's 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 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B guesses 16 and Friend C supposes 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 nearer to the goal answer of 19. .

"Now imagine I present the'imagine what number I am thinking of' question, however I am not asking just three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners and I'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it is going to be extremely hard to guess the ideal answer." .

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If 1 in 7 trillion doesn't sound hard enough as is, here's the grab to the catch. Not only do bitcoin miners need to come up with the ideal hash, they also must be the first to do it.

Since bitcoin mining is essentially guesswork, arriving at the right answer before another miner has almost everything to do find more with how fast your computer can produce hashes. Just a decade ago, bitcoin miners could be carried out competitively on normal desktop computers. As time passes, 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 to the tens of thousands. .

Nowadays, bitcoin mining is so aggressive it can only be done profitably with the most up-to-date ASICs. When using desktop computers, GPUs, or elderly versions of ASICs, the expense of energy consumption actually surpasses the revenue generated. Even with the newest unit available, one computer is seldom 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 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 link massive network of consumers verifying transactions, one block of transactions is confirmed 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 every 10 minutes. As 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 heart of the bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. While bitcoin miners generally agree that something has to be done in order to deal with scaling, there is less consensus about how do it. At the time of writing, there are two big solutions to this scaling problem, either (1) to lower the amount of data needed to verify each block or (2) to increase the number of transactions that each block can store.

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

In July 2017, bitcoin miners and mining companies representing approximately 80% to 90 percent of the networks computing power required to incorporate a program that will reduce the amount of information needed to verify each block. That is, they went with Solution 1.

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The program that miners voted to add to the bitcoin protocol is called a segregated witness, or SegWit. This term 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 join them within an extended block.

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