Bitcoin has definitely been the buzzword for 2017. But did you know that by 2140, we won’t be left with any new Bitcoins that can be mined?
Yes, when the algorithm for Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, a limit was set on the number of Bitcoins that will ever exist. This number was set at 21 million. Till now, more than 12 million units of this cryptocurrency have been discovered through mining. They are currently in circulation for the purposes of investment or purchase.
The algorithm has been designed such that as more and more Bitcoins are discovered, the equations start becoming more and more complex, thus, making that 21 millionth bitcoin the hardest to mine. And given the current rate of Bitcoin mining, it is forecasted that the last Bitcoin will be discovered in 2140.
Mining is one of the primary ways to obtain Bitcoins. If a person has had no luck in mining new Bitcoins, they can use other means of acquiring the cryptocurrency, such as buying them on an exchange or accepting them in exchange for goods and services.
How Bitcoins are ‘Mined’?
Miners start with verifying the various Bitcoin transactions that have taken place, gathered into boxes with a virtual padlock on them, called “block chains.” This helps determine whether the Bitcoin is genuine or not. Through software, miners try to find the key to that padlock. On finding the key, the transition is verified. As a reward, the miner is awarded 25 newly generated Bitcoins. Unfortunately, in 2017, this reward has been halved to 12.5 new Bitcoins for the next four years. The reward used to be 50 BTC in 2009.
However, mining is not as easy as it sounds. According to Blockchain.info, 1,789,546,951.05 attempts have been made to find a correct key.
3 Ways You can Mine Bitcoins
1. Opt for Faster Hardware:
Did you know that when mining began, anyone with basic software and specialized hardware knowledge could mine Bitcoins? They just needed a computer that could support the straightforward and open source software that is free to download and run. However, over time, miners have had to move on to faster hardware, with application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), in order to generate new Bitcoins.
2. Join Mining Pools:
There is no single equipment has enough computational power to compete for Bitcoins. You can, however, unite in pools or collectives of bitcoin miners from around the globe, who pool their computer power to mine or use cloud mining services. One of the popular site for this is Slush’s Pool. Unfortunately, to be a part of a pool, the provider could ask you for a significant share of the winnings. However, the advantages outweigh this cost, since it reduces your investment in hardware and makes the mining process faster.
3. Opt for an Alternative Mining Algorithm:
Bitcoin’s current mining algorithm is based on computing a supermassive number of cryptographic hash functions. This requires huge power consumption. Sometimes, it happens that the utility bill exceeds the mining reward, which nullifies the effort. You can try switching to an alternative mining algorithm for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin Gold, a recently created variant of Bitcoin that requires less power.
Generating new Bitcoins is no cakewalk. But, with knowledge and skill, you could be unstoppable!