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Let's say you had one legit $20 and one really good photocopy of the same $20. If someone were to attempt to spend both the true bill and the imitation one, someone that took the trouble of looking at either of those invoices' consecutive numbers would see that they were the same number, and consequently one of them had to be fictitious.

That isn't a perfect analogy--we'll explain in more detail below. .

Once a miner has verified 1 MB (megabyte) worthiness of Bitcoin transactions, they are eligible to win the 12.5 BTC. The 1 MB limit was set by Satoshi Nakamoto, and can be a matter of controversy, as some miners believe the block size ought to be increased to accommodate more data.

Note that I stated that verifying 1 MB worth of transactions makes a miner qualified to earn Bitcoin--not everyone who verifies transactions will receive paid out.

1MB of transactions can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction (although this is not at all common) or a few thousand. It depends on how much data the transactions consume.

In order to earn Bitcoin, you need to fulfill two conditions. One is a matter of work, one is a matter of luck.

2) You must be the first miner to arrive at the right answer to some numeric problem. This process is also known as an evidence of work.

The fantastic news: No advanced math or computation is involved. You might have heard that miners are solving difficult mathematical problems--that's not true in any way. What they are actually doing is trying to be the first miner to think of a 64-digit hexadecimal number (a"hash") which is less than or equal to the target hash.

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The bad news: Since it's guesswork, you need a good deal of computing power in order to get there . To mine , you need to have a high"hash rate," which is measured in terms of megahashes per second (MH/s), gigahashes per second (GH/s), and terahashes per second (TH/s).

If you want to estimate how much Bitcoin you could mine along with your mining rig's hash pace, the website Cryptocompare provides a very helpful calculator.

Either way a GPU (graphics processing unit) miner or an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner. These can run from $500 into the tens of thousands. Some miners--especially Ethereum miners--purchase individual graphics cards (GPUs) as a low-cost way to cobble together mining operations. The photograph below is a makeshift, home-made mining machine. The graphics cards are such rectangular blocks with whirring circles. Note the sandwich twist-ties holding the pictures cards to the metal pole.

Case in point I tell three friends that I'm thinking of 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 this number I am thinking of.

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Let us say I am thinking about the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they lose because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, because 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. .

In Bitcoin conditions, simultaneous answers occur frequently, but at the end of the day there can only be one winning answer. When multiple simultaneous answers are presented which can be equivalent to or less see this page than the target number, the Bitcoin network will determine by a simple majority--51 percent --which miner to honour. Typically, it's the miner that has done the work, i.e.

The losing block then becomes an"orphan block" .

Now imagine I present the"guess what number I am thinking of" question, but I'm 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'm thinking about a 64-digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be quite hard to guess the ideal answer.

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The number preceding has 64 digits. Easy enough to understand up to now. As you likely noticed, that number consists not only of numbers, but also letters of this alphabet. Why is that

In order to understand what these letters are doing in the middle of numbers, let's unpack the word"hexadecimal."

As you know, we use the"decimal" system, which means it's base 10. This in turn means that every digit has 10 chances, 0-9.