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If you're mining Bitcoin, you do not need to figure the total value of the 64-digit number (the hash). I repeat: You do not need to calculate the entire value of a hash.

Remember that ELI5 analogy, in which I wrote the number 19 on a piece of paper and put it in a sealed envelope

In Bitcoin mining terms, that metaphorical undisclosed number in the envelope is known as the target hash.

What miners are doing with these tremendous computers and dozens of cooling fans is guessing in the hash. Miners create these guesses by randomly generating as many"nonces" as you can, as quickly as possible. A nonce is short for"number only used once," and also the nonce is the secret to generating these 64-bit hexadecimal numbers I keep talking about.

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The primary miner whose nonce generates a hash which is less than or equivalent to the target hash is given credit for completing that block, and is awarded the spoils of 12.5 BTC. .

In theory you can achieve the same goal by rolling a 16-sided die 64 days to Reach random numbers, but why on earth would you want to do that

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The screenshot below, taken from the site Blockchain.info, might help you put all this information together in a glance. You're looking at a list of everything that happened when obstruct 490163 was mined. The nonce that generated the "winning" hash was 731511405. The goal hash is shown on the top.

As you see here, their contribution to the Bitcoin community is they confirmed 1768 transactions for this block. If you truly want to find all 1768 of those transactions for this block, go to this page and scroll down to the heading"Transactions." .

There's no minimum goal, but there is a maximum target set by the Bitcoin Protocol. No target can be greater than this number:

Here are some examples of randomized hashes and also the standards for whether they will lead to achievement for your miner:

You would need to get a speedy mining rig or, more realistically, join a mining pool--a bunch of miners that combine their computing ability and divide the mined bitcoin. Mining pools are somewhat similar to those Powerball clubs whose members buy lottery tickets en masse and consent to discuss any winnings. A disproportionately large number of blocks are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. .

In other words, it's literally just a numbers game.  You cannot imagine the pattern or make a prediction based on preceding goal hashes. The difficulty level of the most recent block at the time of writing is 2,874,674,234,416, i.e. the chance of any given nonce producing a hash beneath the goal is just 1 in 2,874,674,234,416--significantly less than 1 in two trillion. .

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The aforementioned website Cryptocompare offers a very helpful calculator that permits you to plug in numbers like your hash speed, electricity costs etc. to gauge the costs and benefits.

Mining benefits are paid to the miner who discovers a solution to the puzzle , and also the probability that a participant will be the one to discover the solution is equal to the portion of the entire mining energy on the network.  Participants with a small percentage of the mining capability stand a tiny chance of discovering the next block on their own.  For instance, a mining card that one could buy to get a couple thousand dollars would represent less than 0.001percent of their network's mining energy.  With such a small chance at finding the next block, it might be a long time before that miner finds a block, and the problem going up makes things even worse.  The miner may never recoup their investment.  The answer to this predicament is mining pools.  Mining pools are operated by third parties and coordinate groups of miners.  By working together in a pool and sharing the payouts amongst participants, miners can get a steady stream of bitcoin starting the day they trigger their miner.  Statistics on a few of the mining pools can be seen on Blockchain.info. .

Sure. As visit their website discussed, the easiest way to acquire Bitcoin is to purchase it on an exchange like Coinbase.com. Alternately, you can consistently leverage the"pickaxe strategy". This is based on the old saw that during the 1848 California gold rush, the smart investment was not to pan for goldbut rather to create the pickaxes taken for mining.

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In a crypto context, the pickaxe equivalent would be a company that manufactures equpiment used for Bitcoin mining. You can start looking into companies that make ASICs miners or GPU miners. .

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