There are a few basic questions about Bitcoin that every newcomer seems to have.
These include concerns about its price, about anonymity, how secure the platform really is and even questions about this currencies history. But perhaps the most often question is about the very tokens that are used for Bitcoin trading and transactions. People want to know how they are made and where do they come from.Common or fiat currency is made by various banks and printing presses specifically. On the other hand, bitcoins come into existence in a different way. This digital currency has to be mined by users with the help of computers.
All the users form a network and then do a specific job. Their task is to add records of transactions to a publicly available ledger kept by Bitcoin. This ledger is also known as the blockchain.
We won’t go into too much detail, but mining a block is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. Each time your computer tries to discover a block it has to spend a certain amount of computing power. Every time it does that is like entering the lottery and seeing the results. The chances of finding a new block are slim, just like winning the lottery. However, someone somewhere gets lucky every 15 minutes or so and gives the blockchain a new block. Each time someone that is mining for Bitcoin discovers a real block signifies that a lot of attempts have gone into it, and thus a lot of energy. This is Bitcoin’s proof of work protocol, in a nutshell.
This protocol is important because users mining bitcoins can’t create the cryptocurrency out of nothing. Instead, they have to spend electric energy and computing power to have a chance of earning a token. Moreover, by using this proof of work algorithm, potential hackers would need to modify a past transaction.
In reality, anyone wanting to abuse the system this way would have to complete all the work done on the blockchain after the transaction which is close to impossible. Thus, people who mine make the network safe by putting in computing power and establishing ever longer chains. The reward for buying a lottery ticket, making the network secure, and putting time and energy into mining, is a unique transaction which comes with every block. This is the mechanism of reward which gives lucky miners a new Bitcoin. More importantly, it is how bitcoins come into existence.
At the beginning, new blocks would come with 50 bitcoins, but every four years this number goes down by 50%. Becoming a miner is not hard to do. Anyone can enter the “Lottery”, but things have changed over the years as more and more people started mining.
Nowadays, you need specific hardware setups to maximize your efforts. The most successful miners employ hundreds of specialized computers and have access to cheaper electricity.But, a small, single mining rig can give you a good return on your investment.