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Legitimate miners and buyers have to incur substantial production and energy expenses, or need to pay the going exchange rates for bitcoins.

Criminal miners pay virtually nothing for the production of new coins, outsourcing the work to hapless victim machines all over the world. Criminal bitcoin thieves don't incur the exchange rate fee for acquisition of bitcoins. They simply rely on hacking and malware to siphon bitcoin wallets from law-abiding owners.

What we've got here, then, is a commodity (I hesitate to call it a currency) that has a current price, is free from regulation (for the moment), allows for completely anonymous ownership, and is both highly profitable and nearly free to produce (if you're willing to violate the law).

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There is no doubt that bitcoin has staying power, but whether that's only among criminals (and people who wish to traffic together, such as the Silk Road medication sellers and clients ), or if it is going to become a valuable trading commodity for the rest of us remains unclear.

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My information to law enforcement is easy: follow the bitcoin. There's no doubt that more and more criminals will be using bitcoin to generate profit as well as pay their tracks. Whenever you find a stash of bitcoin and possess judicial permission to follow the footprints, do so.

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While bitcoin usage is not limited to criminals, there's an undeniably high correlation between bitcoin ownership and criminal action. Especially since bitcoins are becoming every more profitable to criminal malware seeders and botnet operators while concurrently becoming ever less profitable for legitimate traders.

Here is the vital take-away: bitcoins are becoming the most"national currency" of criminals the world over and are becoming an increasingly inadequate investment for legitimate miners.

Cryptocurrency mining is painstaking, expensive, and only sporadically rewarding. Nonetheless, mining has a magnetic draw for many investors interested in cryptocurrency. This might be because entrepreneurial types see mining as pennies from heaven, such as California gold prospectors in 1848. And if you are technologically inclined, why not do it

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Well, before you invest time and equipment, browse this explainer to find out whether mining is really for you. We will focus mostly on Bitcoin. (Connected: How Bitcoin Works and our useful infographic, What is Bitcoin)

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By mining, you can earn cryptocurrency without having to put down money for it. Nevertheless, you certainly don't need to become a miner to own crypto.   You can also purchase crypto using fiat currency (USD, EUR, JPY, etc); you can exchange it on an exchange like Bitstamp using other crypto (example: Using Ethereum or NEO to purchase Bitcoin); you even can earn it by playing video games or even by publishing blogposts on programs which pay its users in crypto.

In addition to lining the pockets of miners, mining functions a second and critical purpose: it's the only means to release new cryptocurrency into circulation. In other words, miners are essentially"minting" currency. By way of instance, as of the time of writing this bit, there were about 17 million Bitcoin in circulation.

In the absence of miners, Bitcoin would nevertheless exist and be usable, but there might never be any additional Bitcoin. There will come a time when Bitcoin mining ends; each the Bitcoin Protocol, the number of Bitcoin will likely be capped at 21 million. (Related reading: What Happens Bitcoin After All 21 Million are Mined).

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Besides the short-term Bitcoin payoff, being a miner can provide you"voting" power when changes are suggested in the Bitcoin protocol. In see post other words, an effective miner has influence on the decision-making process on such issues as  forking.

Bitcoin are mined in units called"cubes" As of this time of writing, the reward for completing a block is 12.5 Bitcoin. At today's price of about $10,000 per Bitcoin, this means that you'd earn (12.5 x 10,000)$125,000.

When Bitcoin was first mined in 2009, mining one block could earn you 50 BTC. In 2012, this was halved to 25 BTC. In 2016, this was halved to the current level of 12.5 BTC. In 2020 or so, the reward size will be halved again to 6.25 BTC.

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If you want to keep tabs on exactly when these halvings will occur, you can consult with the Bitcoin Clock, which upgrades this information in real time.

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Miners are getting paid for their work as auditors. They're doing the work of verifying previous Bitcoin transactions. This convention is meant to maintain Bitcoin users honest, and has been conceived by Bitcoin's founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. By verifying transactions, miners are helping to prevent the"double-spending problem."

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