The difficulty is the measure which is used to gauge how hard it is to completely satisfy the proof of work for a block. This difficulty changes every 2016 blocks; ideally around every 2 weeks. New ASIC comes on the block? No problem, Bitcoin’s difficulty will adjust accordingly to try and keep the block times as close to 10 minutes (may differ for different cryptocurrencies).
The opposite is true as well. A lot of people are exiting the mining game? That’s cool too, because difficulty will lower at the next difficulty change. Due to this, new bitcoins should come in at a steady stream, allowing for exchange rates to not be affected by massive sells or massive buys.
This usually increasing difficulty, usually anywhere between a 10%-20% increase in difficulty makes most mining calculators very deceptive as well. When you’re looking for a new ASIC, and the calculations show ridiculous numbers, a one-month break even period for example.
It’s probably not taking increasing difficulty into factor. The phrase “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Is paramount when it comes to Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency general.
How fast you can crunch through numbers is measured in hashes. Due to the competitive nature of mining, typically hash rates are measured in gigahashes or its abbreviation, Gh/s. 1 gigahash is equivalent to 1 billion hashes per second, which is a phenomenal amount of computational power, but that will get you nowhere. Assuming you want to make income from mining.
Nowadays, things are more commonly measured in terrahashes, (TH/S) and even petahashes (PH/S) to a lesser extent. Due to this arm race, with many data centers dedicated to just mining Bitcoins, the blockchain security is second to none.
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