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Let's say you had one legit $20 and one really good photocopy of that 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 exact same number, and consequently one of them needed to be false.

This 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 entitled to win the 12.5 BTC. The 1 MB limit was established by Satoshi Nakamoto, and is a matter of controversy, as some miners believe the block size should be increased to accommodate more information.

Note that I stated that verifying 1 MB value of transactions makes a miner eligible to earn Bitcoin--not everyone who supports transactions will receive paid off.

1MB of transactions can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction (though this is not in any way common) or a few thousand. It depends on how much data the transactions take up.

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 perfect answer to a numeric issue. This practice is also known as an evidence of work.

The fantastic news: No advanced math or computation is involved. You may have heard that miners are solving difficult mathematical problems--that is not true at all. What they are 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 first. To mine , you need to have a higher"hash rate," that 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 can mine with your mining rig's hash rate, the website Cryptocompare offers try this website 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 cheap way to cobble together mining operations.  The photograph below is a makeshift, home-made mining machine.  The graphics cards are such rectangular cubes with whirring circles.  Note the sandwich twist-ties holding the graphics cards to the metal pole.

Example: 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 need to guess the specific number, they simply must be the first person to guess any number that's less than or equal to this number I'm 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 guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they've both theoretically arrived at viable answers, since 16<19 and 12<19. There's no"extra credit" for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer 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 than the target number, the Bitcoin network will decide by a simple majority--51 percent --which miner to honour. Normally, it is the miner that has done the most work, i.e.

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The losing block then becomes an"orphan block." .

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

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The number above has 64 digits. Easy enough to understand so far. As you likely noticed, that number consists not just of numbers, but also letters of the alphabet. Why is that

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

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

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