What is Bitcoin Mining?

bitcoin mining

Sometimes, you wonder about the origin of Bitcoin and the way in which it goes into circulation. Well, it simply came from being “mined”. Mining bitcoins both works to release a new Bitcoin and also adds up transactions to the available block chain. The process of mining goes by solving a computationally challenging puzzle and collecting new transactions into blocks.

The first one who is able to solve the puzzle can put on the block chain the next block and gets the rewards. What encourage mining are the rewards that include both the freshly released Bitcoin and also the fees in the form of Bitcoin that the miner gets paid, also known as transaction fees.

Network Security

Bitcoin mining is considered decentralized. Any person who has internet connection and a good hardware can readily participate. Bitcoin network’s security is dependent on this decentralization due to the fact that it makes decisions according to consensus.

Whenever a disagreement of the block’s inclusion in a block chain occurs, the decision is then made simply by majority consensus if it’s more than 50% of the mining influence agrees.

An organization or an individual person can obtain the power to distort the block chain if it possesses 50% more of the total BTC network’s mining power. This concept is recognized as “51% attack”.

The cost to carry out that attack would be dependent mainly on the amount of mining power involved in the BTC network. Hence the BTC network security is partially dependent on the amount of mining power employed.

The total mining power that’s needed in the network is directly dependent on the incentives the miners have, like the transaction fees and block reward.

Block Reward

Block reward is the number of new bitcoin discharged with every time a block is mined. It halves in every 210,000 blocks or approximately every four years. It was in 2009 when it started at 50 and in 2014 it is already 25 bitcoin.

The block reward’s declining mechanism will end up releasing all bitcoin that approaches twenty-one million. As what the current Bitcoin protocol said, the cap of bitcoin is 21 million and you can no longer mine anymore the moment it will reach that number.

Just recently, what gives a great majority of incentive for miners is the block rewards as well. As of writing, for the last 24 hours, 0.3% of the mining income is represented by transaction fees.

Transaction Fees

Since the block rewards decreases as the time goes by, it will eventually reach zero which gives less encouragement for the miners to mine bitcoin for the purpose of block reward. This could make a huge problem for Bitcoin security, except if the incentives you can get from block rewards will be changed by transaction fees.

Added in the transaction as the miner's reward who was able to mine the block in that included transaction, transaction fees are considered some Bitcoin amount. It is voluntary on the one who's sending a transaction.

The decision to include a transaction by a miner in a block is also voluntary. Therefore, users who sends transactions can make use of the fees to verify the transactions. The Bitcoin client version released by main development team, which can be utilized to send transactions has by default, a minimum fee.

Mining Difficulty

How difficult is Bitcoin Mining? Well, it is pretty much dependent on the effort being done into mining within the network. According to the protocol given in the software, the network of Bitcoin adjusts automatically the mining difficulty every 2016 blocks which is approximately every two weeks. It self-adjusts so that the block discovery's rate is constant.

Therefore, if the computational power employed is more, it will make the difficulty go upwards which makes mining harder. But opposite happens if the computational power's lifted off the network. The difficulty goes downward making mining easier.

The more the difficulty level goes up, the profitability is less for miners. So, the higher the number of miners, the more it's not profitable for each participant. The overall payout is dependent on Bitcoin's price, the transaction fees' size and the block reward, however the higher the number of miners, the smaller each person gets.

Mining Hardware

Anybody with access to the web and appropriate equipment can take an interest in mining. In the most punctual days of Bitcoin, mining was finished with CPUs from ordinary desktop PCs. Representation cards, or design handling units (GPUs), are more compelling at mining than CPUs and as Bitcoin picked up fame, GPUs wound up noticeably overwhelming.

In the end, equipment known as an ASIC (which remains for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) was composed particularly to mine Bitcoin. The initial ones were discharged in 2013 and have been enhanced since, with more proficient plans coming to showcase.

Today, mining is so focused; it must be done beneficially with the most recent ASICs. When utilizing CPUs, GPUs, or even the more established ASICs, the cost of vitality utilization is more noteworthy than the income produced.

As ASICs are progressed and more members enter the mining space, the trouble has shot up exponentially. A ton of this action has been boosted by the extensive cost increment Bitcoin experienced in 2013 and theory that the cost may rise advance.

There is likewise political power inside the Bitcoin biological system that accompanies controlling mining power, since that mining power basically gives you a vote in whether to acknowledge changes to the convention.

There are many organizations which make mining equipment. A portion of the more noticeable ones are Bitfury, HashFast, KnCMiner and Butterfly Labs. Organizations, for example, MegaBigPower, CloudHashing, and CEX.io likewise permit clients to rent facilitated mining equipment.

Mining Pools

Mining reward are paid to the miner who finds an answer for the astound to begin with, and the likelihood that a member will be the one to find the arrangement is equivalent to the bit of the aggregate mining power on the system. Members with a little rate of the mining power stand a little possibility of finding the following square all alone.

For example, a mining card that one could buy for several thousand dollars would speak to under 0.001% of the system's mining power. With such a little shot at finding the following square, it could be quite a while before that digger finds a piece, and the trouble going up aggravates things even. The digger may never recover their venture.

The response to this issue is mining pools. Mining pools are worked by outsiders and facilitate gatherings of miners. By cooperating in a pool and sharing the payouts among members, excavators can get an enduring stream of bitcoin beginning the day they enact their digger. Measurements on a portion of the mining pools can be seen on Blockchain.info.

Electricity Cost

The electricity cost and the hardware are the miner's major working costs, both for the purpose of running the miners and also for supplying adequate ventilation and cooling. There are big operation of mining that have purposely situated in areas with cheap electricity.

In North America, the biggest mining operation, run by MegaBigPower located in Washington State by the Columbia River, in which a hydroelectric power is overflowing and the prices of electricity are the cheapest in the nation. CloudHasing as well, runs a big mining operation located in Iceland, in which electricity is generated from geothermal and hydroelectric power sources that is likewise cheap and renewable, and also gives cooling due to the cold northern climate.


At the start of this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who issued Bitcoin a tax guidance, saying that the mining revenue could establish income as self-employed and should be imposed to tax. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN, is a U.S. Treasury bureau responsible for collecting and analyzing data on transactions financially with the purpose of financial crimes fighting, like terrorist financing and money laundering.

FinCEN has published that Bitcoin miners aren't taken as Money Transmitters under the Act of Bank Secrecy and clarified recently that cloud mining services provides are as well not considered as Money Transmitters.

The Bottom Line

Mining bitcoin is the way of bringing new Bitcoin into circulation, that only totals to 21 million which is the cap. Miners are racing to set up the newest chips for mining bitcoin and prefers to live in areas with cheap electricity. The more computing power there is in mining, the puzzles' difficulty increases, making the profitability in question.

Written on 10 Dec 2010.