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Let us say you had one legit $20 and one quite good photocopy of the same $20. If someone were to attempt to spend both the true bill and the fake one, someone who took the problem of looking at either of the bills' consecutive numbers would see that they were exactly the exact same number, and thus one of them needed to be fictitious.

This isn't a great analogy--we will explain in more detail below. .

Once a miner has confirmed 1 MB (megabyte) worth of Bitcoin transactions, they are eligible to win the 12.5 BTC. The 1 MB limit was set by Satoshi Nakamoto, and is an issue of controversy, as some miners think the block size should be increased to accommodate more information.

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

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

In order to earn Bitcoin, you need to meet 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 good news: No advanced math or computation is involved. You may have heard that miners are solving challenging mathematical problems--that's not true at all. 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 equivalent to the hash.

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The bad news: Since it's guesswork, you need a lot of computing power in order to get there first. 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 can mine along with your mining rig's hash pace, the site Cryptocompare provides a very helpful calculator.

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

Example: I tell three friends that I'm thinking about 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 must be the first person to figure any number that's less than or equal to this number I am thinking of.

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Let us say I'm thinking of the number 19. If Friend A guesses 21they shed because 21>19. If Friend B supposes 16 and Friend C supposes 12, then they have both theoretically arrived at workable answers, because 16<19 and 12<19. There's no"extra credit" for Friend B, even though B's answer was nearer to the target answer of 19. .

In Bitcoin terms, simultaneous answers occur frequently, but in the my link 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. Typically, it is the miner that has done the work, i.e.

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The losing block then becomes an"orphan block" .

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Now imagine that I pose the"figure what number I'm thinking of" question, but I am not asking just 3 friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Instead, I'm 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 so far. As you likely noticed, that number consists not only of numbers, but also letters of the alphabet. Why is that

In order to understand these letters are doing in the middle of numbers, let us 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 possibilities, 0-9.

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