Global Poker never ceases to amaze us! This time they are welcoming autumn in no other better way than with their first-ever Fall Carnival event that will go on from September 26th to October 2nd! Bear with us with this short article where we will explain anything you need to know about this fun event!Read more
How Long Does it Take to Mine One Bitcoin?
Bitcoin has seen its ups and downs over the years since its launch, but efforts to mine all of the cryptocurrency's limited supply into circulation continue. Whether you're interested in joining a Bitcoin mining pool or you're just curious, here you'll learn everything you need to know about the process of Bitcoin mining, including how long it takes to mine one Bitcoin, what you need to start mining, which factors can affect mining efficiency and what happens when all Bitcoin has been mined.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralised open-source cryptocurrency, an alternative form of money, that was launched in 2009 by a group or person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea was to create an alternative form of money that could be used for everyday transactions without the need for a trust-based third party such as banks or financial institutions, which are subject to corruption and can impose value-altering effects onto currencies as they see fit.
Bitcoin transactions are recorded and verified on a virtual public ledger using blockchain technology. Transactions are added together to form a block, which is then encrypted using cryptography and added to the blockchain, making those transactions irreversible and virtually unhackable.
Though it's not the only cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was the first successful crypto coin and at present is the world's most popular by market share.
What is Bitcoin Mining?
Bitcoin mining is the process by which new Bitcoin is 'minted' and released into circulation. One or more miners use computing power to discover the hash of newly created blocks to win the right to add that block to the chain and gain its reward.
The process of Bitcoin mining is a sort of competition that's open to anyone with enough computing power to complete the required task. Specifically, miners are tasked with taking the hash header of the newly created Bitcoin block and using the computational power of their computers to 'guess' through brute force what the block's hash is.
Whoever finds the correct hash will get that block's reward, which consists of a set amount of newly 'minted' Bitcoin (currently 6.25 BTC) and the transaction fees of all of that block's transactions.
Because Bitcoin mining is very energy-intensive (ie. costly) and there are so many people doing it, miners tend to join groups called pools in order to increase the efficiency of their efforts and the chances of discovering each block's hash.
How Long Does it Take to Mine One Bitcoin?
This question doesn't have a simple answer, unfortunately! To start with, while it's fairly easy to narrow down the time it takes for the mining community to mine one Bitcoin block (approximately 10 minutes), that doesn't mean it takes 10 minutes to mine one Bitcoin as one Bitcoin block does not equal 1 BTC.
So how much is one Bitcoin block worth? The so-called block reward of Bitcoin is currently 6.25 BTC, which is what the successful miner or mining pool will get for correctly guessing the hash of the newly created block. In terms of numbers, that means it takes 10/6.25 = 1.6 minutes to mine 1 BTC. However, Bitcoin isn't released in per coin increments, it's released on a per block basis at a set value.
It's also worth bearing in mind that since the block reward hasn't always been 6.25 BTC, the time it takes to mine 1 BTC has changed and will also continue to change. When Bitcoin was first launched, the block reward was 50 BTC, which today would be worth around $1.5 million! Due to halving, that block reward has now reduced to 6.25 BTC and will continue to fall (more on halving later).
What Factors Affect Bitcoin Mining Time?
Other factors influence how long it takes to mine Bitcoin. Here we take a look at three of the most influential factors that impact Bitcoin mining times.
Mining involves the use of computers, but you can't just use any old machine. While computers used to be discussed on the level of their CPUs (central processing units), today's bitcoin mining devices are referred to in terms of their Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), all of which are useful and in some cases instrumental for completing the task of hashing (ie. brute-force guessing a block's hash).
ASICs are the standard for Bitcoin mining these days, though many use the specialised abilities of FPGAs, with both deemed much more energy-efficient than CPUs. Though the GPUs of gaming computers are also up to the task of hashing, these may be better suited to mining other cryptocurrencies such as Ether.
Team VS Solo Mining
Another influence on Bitcoin mining time is your mining setup. While it is possible to apply your own computer to the process of Bitcoin mining, you may find it takes a long time before you find the hash of a newly created block. That's because there are many thousands of others doing the same thing and lots of these people join together in a mining pool.
Mining pools involve people pooling their resources and working together to discover the hash of the latest Bitcoin block. If the pool discovers the hash, they all share in the reward based on each participant's hash rate (number of guesses their computer makes per second, usually measured in mega hashes per second, eg. 200 MH/s).
The result is an increased likelihood of finding the correct hash, but there are other benefits to mining in pools versus going solo, such as better protection against cyber attacks and reduced energy costs.
Also impacting the time it takes to mine Bitcoin is what's called the Bitcoin mining difficulty. As more miners join the community, the time it takes to mine Bitcoin reduces, but this introduces undesirable results. To account for this, an adjustable difficulty rating was designed to keep the block creation rate at around one per 10 minutes.
Resetting the difficulty is done after every 2,016 blocks have been created, which should take 2 weeks. If the last set of 2,016 blocks took less than 2 weeks to complete, the difficulty is increased. Similarly, if it took more than 2 weeks, the difficulty is decreased.
The more difficult it is for your computing resources to find the correct hash, the more time it is likely to take.
How Many Bitcoins are Left to Mine?
Bitcoin is limited in supply to 21 million coins. This limit was implemented as a way of ensuring that the cryptocurrency maintains or increases its value over time. There will only ever be 21 million coins as no new coins are going to be created.
Since there are currently just over 19 million Bitcoin in circulation, that leaves just under 2 million BTC that are as yet unmined. That equates to a value of around $63 billion at today's rates, so you can understand why many people want to get in on the mining competition!
Halving and its Effect on Bitcoin Mining
Another method that is used to control the release and value of Bitcoin is called halving. As mentioned before, Bitcoin's block reward was initially 50 BTC when the cryptocurrency was first launched back in 2009. Today that block reward is 6.25 BTC due to the process of halving.
As the name suggests, halving effectively reduces the block reward by half. This mechanism is built into the system and applied after every 210,000 blocks have been completed, which works out to be approximately every 4 years.
Three halvings have occurred since Bitcoin's launch, taking the block reward from 50 BTC to 25 BTC in 2012, then to 12.5 BTC in mid 2016, and to today's 6.25 BTC in May 2020. The next Bitcoin halving is due to happen in 2024.
What this means from a mining perspective is that the same amount of work will carry half the reward each time there is a halving. So what incentive would miners have to carry on mining?
Each time there is a halving, the value of Bitcoin increases. If this increase in value doesn't happen, the difficulty is adjusted accordingly, so that it's easier and faster to mine a block.
What Happens When all Bitcoin Has Been Mined?
Given that Bitcoin has a limited supply, there will come a point when all Bitcoin has been mined into circulation. That point is expected to be in 2140. The cryptocurrency's blockchain will still need to continue to operate, keeping a ledger of transactions, but how will that be possible if there is no new Bitcoin waiting to reward miners?
Newly minted Bitcoins are not the only reward for mining blocks. Successful miners also gain the entire block's transaction fees for their efforts, though this is a smaller percentage. Once all Bitcoins have been released into circulation, the transaction fees will remain as the only reward for mining.
However, since the value of Bitcoin at that point is expected to rise and there is presumed to be a higher number of transactions in Bitcoin, the transaction fees will be higher and offer enough of an incentive to keep miners mining.
Is Bitcoin Mining Profitable?
The profitability of Bitcoin mining can vary greatly from one operation to the next as a lot of factors come into play. Given the right setup and a large number of miners, Bitcoin mining can be profitable. Solo miners can also get a slice of the pie if they can afford to buy adequate computing power and pay the high energy costs.
Of course, it's a matter of weighing up the costs versus the profit potential, which is difficult to do as there's no way to guarantee you'll get any set number of blocks in a given timeframe.
While it's technically quite easy to work out how long it takes to mine one Bitcoin, using how long it takes to mine one Bitcoin block, the reality of mining is a little more complex. The most successful operations have many miners working in a pool with top of the range computers, which increases their chances of discovering the newest block's hash and reaping that block's rewards.
It's also important to remember that other factors influence how long Bitcoin mining can take and that there's no guarantee you'll earn anything from your efforts. Be sure to do your research and recognise the risks before you start mining, whether alone or as part of a pool.
Want to know more about bitcoin mining times? Check our FAQs.
How long does it take to mine one Bitcoin?
It currently takes just under 10 minutes to mine one Bitcoin block, which is worth 6.25 BTC. That means 1 BTC takes approximately 1.6 minutes to mine, all other variables remaining constant.
What affects Bitcoin mining times?
Many factors influence how long it takes to mine Bitcoin, including the computers used, whether you're mining alone or as part of a pool, and the Bitcoin mining difficulty.
What can you use Bitcoin for?
Though there are only a limited number of online locations at which Bitcoin is accepted for purchases, you can play a wide range of top slots, table games, live dealer games and blockchain backed provably fair games at a growing number of online casinos.
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