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Let us 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 problem of looking at either of the invoices' serial numbers would observe that they were the same number, and consequently one of them had to be false.

This isn't a great analogy--we will 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 set by Satoshi Nakamoto, and is 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 value of transactions makes a miner qualified to earn Bitcoin--not everyone who supports transactions will get paid off.

1MB of transactions can theoretically be as small as 1 transaction (though this is not in any way common) or several 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 effort, one is a matter of luck.

2) You must be the first miner to arrive at the perfect answer to a numeric problem. This process is also known as a proof of work.

The fantastic news: No advanced math or computation is involved. You might have discovered that miners are solving challenging mathematical problems--that is not true in any way. What they're 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 hash.

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The bad news: Because it's guesswork, you need a good deal of computing power in order to get there first. To mine successfully, you need to have a higher"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 just how much Bitcoin you could mine along with your mining rig's hash pace, the website Cryptocompare offers a helpful calculator.

Either 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--particularly Ethereum miners--purchase individual graphics cards (GPUs) as a cheap way to cobble together mining operations. The photograph below is a makeshift, high-tech mining machine. The cards are such rectangular blocks with whirring circles. Note the sandwich twist-ties holding the graphics cards to the metal rod.

Case in point I tell three friends that I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100, and that I write that number on a sheet of paper and seal it in an envelope. My friends don't need to guess the specific number, they simply have to be the first person to figure any number that is less than or equal to the 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 guesses 16 and Friend C guesses 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at workable answers, since 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. .

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 that are equivalent to or less than the target number, the Bitcoin network will decide by a simple majority--51%--that miner to honour. Normally, it's the miner that has done the work, i.e.

The losing block then becomes an"orphan block" .

Now imagine I pose the"figure what number I am thinking of" question, but dig this I am not asking only three friends, and I am not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I am asking millions of would-be 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 right 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 the 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 each and every digit has 10 chances, 0-9.