How long does it take to mine 1 Bitcoin?
The simple answer is that it currently takes about 10 minutes to mine a new Bitcoin. However, mining is a complex process, of which several factors need to be considered.
Bitcoin’s value and demand are projected to rise in the coming years. Buying Bitcoin is the easiest way to obtain the digital currency, but there are other ways to receive it. Mining Bitcoin is a viable option. This article explains how long it takes to mine 1 Bitcoin.
Mining Bitcoin involves transaction validation. Nodes (computers) compete to generate new blocks of valid transactions and include them in the Bitcoin blockchain. These nodes are rewarded for their computing power.
Whenever a Bitcoin crypto transaction is performed, network nodes make sure that it is authentic and then update all information required about the transaction to the blockchain. Nodes compete by solving complex math puzzles. The winning node earns a reward, paid in BTC the native cryptocurrency to the Bitcoin blockchain.
This process requires a great deal of computing power, making mining an expensive and calculated activity. As compensation for the costs, the network gives the reward for validated transactions.
Bitcoin mining is a finite process as there are only 21 million coins in the total supply. The last of these is projected to be mined about 120 years from now. With the decreasing supply, the number of Bitcoins allocated as rewards reduces every four years, known as the Bitcoin halving. This phenomenon has taken place three times so far, and occurs every 210.000 blocks, reducing the block reward by half. The last halving, which occurred in May this year, left the current rate sitting at 6.25 Bitcoins per block.
Factors Affecting the Time It Takes to Mine 1 Bitcoin
As earlier mentioned, with Bitcoin’s supply algorithm, the average time required to mine one Bitcoin is approximately 10 minutes. The time needed to create a single new block remains constant, but some other crucial factors that affect the profitability of mining Bitcoin include:
- mining hardware used
- hash rate
- mining method
- mining difficulty
Mining Hardware Used
The Bitcoin mining landscape is much different than it was at the start in 2009 when miners could use their PCs to generate new blocks. Bitcoin now uses the SHA-256 mining algorithm, which most computers cannot handle. It takes extremely powerful and efficient hardware to run millions of calculations within a short time.
Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are the current most broadly used hardware for Bitcoin mining. There is also the issue of electric power consumption, the more powerful the computer is, which is an added expense.
Hash rate is the measure of how much power the network requires for finding and validation blocks of transactions. This metric expresses the ability of a blockchain network to make computations, calculated by the number of operations done every second (hashes per second).
Hash rate increases with more nodes available to compete to solve a block. So, a network with a higher hash rate simply has a better chance (more nodes competing) to confirm the new block.
Solo mining to earn a full personal reward is expensive and tedious, as discussed above. Mining pools are the best option for those who can’t afford the huge costs of Bitcoin mining hardware. They allow people to pool resources to achieve a higher hash rate, which means more blocks mined.
Bitcoin pools share resources to cover the costs of computing and electric power and puts them in the running against big-time mining companies. It also betters the chances of winning the block for a shared reward.
Mining difficulty is an indicator of how hard it is to get the right hash (operation) for each block of Bitcoin. It shows the amount of work a node must put in to be rewarded.
Mining difficulty is an ever-changing value, so it is challenging to approximate the exact potential mining time. That’s because the bitcoin network is designed to alter difficulty every 2016th block to make sure that the process occurs every 10 minutes.
When it becomes too easy to mine new blocks, the network increases the difficulty, making it harder. The reverse is the case when mining becomes too hard, which may happen if the price of Bitcoin falls, and too many miners quit mining.
Due to the ever-changing factors involved in mining, such as competition and computing power, it is difficult to state the exact time it takes to mine a Bitcoin. The average is 10 minutes; however, it may take a miner more or less time depending on their mining power.