To compete against the mining mega centers, individuals can join a mining pool, which is a group of miners who work together and share the rewards. This can increase the speed and reduce the difficulty in mining, putting profitability in reach. As difficulty and cost have increased, more and more individual miners have opted to participate in a pool. While the overall reward decreases because it is shared among multiple participants, the combined computing power means that mining pools stand a much greater chance of actually completing a hashing problem first and receiving a reward in the first place.
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The bitcoin reward that miners receive is an incentive which motivates people to assist in the primary purpose of mining: to support, legitimize and monitor the Bitcoin network and its blockchain. Because these responsibilities are spread among many users all over the world, bitcoin is said to be a "decentralized" cryptocurrency, or one that does not rely on a central bank or government to oversee its regulation.
Bitcoin mining can still make sense and be profitable for some individuals. Equipment is more easily obtained, although competitive ASICs cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to about $10,000. In an effort to stay competitive, some machines have adapted. For example, some hardware allows users to alter settings to lower energy requirements, thus lowering overall costs. Prospective miners should perform a cost/benefit analysis to understand their breakeven price before making the fixed-cost purchases of the equipment. The variables needed to make this calculation are:
Is Mining Bitcoin Still Profitable in 2020?
In Bitcoin terms, simultaneous answers occur frequently, but at the end of the day, there can only be one winning answer. When multiple simultaneous answers are presented that are equal to or less than the target number, the Bitcoin network will decide by a simple majority—51%—which miner to honor. Typically, it is the miner who has done the most work, that s, the one that verifies the most transactions. The losing block then becomes an "orphan block." Orphan blocks are those that are not added to the blockchain. Miners who successfully solve the hash problem but who haven't verified the most transactions are not rewarded with bitcoin.
How Does Bitcoin Work?