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Author Topic: What happens to the difficulty when the last BTC is mined?  (Read 673 times)
biggee
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March 01, 2017, 12:36:48 AM
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I've read a lot of articles that talk about the only source of income for miners being the TX fees once the last BTC is minted, and there is a lot of speculation as to whether that will even be profitable for the miners. But that aside, and also forgetting technological advances (smaller, cheaper, faster chips etc)....

What happens to the network difficulty?

Does it reset to a lower amount or does it keep rising infinitely?

Or does it switch to a different kind of system once all the coins have been mined?

I'm sure it's safe to assume that computing advances will make it easier to solve in the foreseeable future (quantum processing etc), but long term, could the difficulty become so hard that it becomes financially impractical to solve or even actually impossible to solve?


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March 01, 2017, 12:41:20 AM
 #2

I've read a lot of articles that talk about the only source of income for miners being the TX fees once the last BTC is minted, and there is a lot of speculation as to whether that will even be profitable for the miners. But that aside, and also forgetting technological advances (smaller, cheaper, faster chips etc)....

What happens to the network difficulty?

Does it reset to a lower amount or does it keep rising infinitely?

Or does it switch to a different kind of system once all the coins have been mined?
...

Difficultly is only designed to regulate the time interval between blocks (10 minutes on average).

In theory, when the block rewards run dry, miners will compete to find blocks only for the fees.
In theory, the difficultly will increase and decrease, like now.

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biggee
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March 01, 2017, 12:55:04 AM
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I've read a lot of articles that talk about the only source of income for miners being the TX fees once the last BTC is minted, and there is a lot of speculation as to whether that will even be profitable for the miners. But that aside, and also forgetting technological advances (smaller, cheaper, faster chips etc)....

What happens to the network difficulty?

Does it reset to a lower amount or does it keep rising infinitely?

Or does it switch to a different kind of system once all the coins have been mined?
...

Difficultly is only designed to regulate the time interval between blocks (10 minutes on average).

In theory, when the block rewards run dry, miners will compete to find blocks only for the fees.
In theory, the difficultly will increase and decrease, like now.

Ahhh ok, so the diff doesn't always increase then?

The reason I ask is because back in the early days (as I've read) you could mine a block with a laptop. The difficulty has increased to a point now which has made that impossible. But what you're saying is that in theory it could go right down at some point in the future?
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March 01, 2017, 01:27:26 AM
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Ahhh ok, so the diff doesn't always increase then?

The reason I ask is because back in the early days (as I've read) you could mine a block with a laptop. The difficulty has increased to a point now which has made that impossible. But what you're saying is that in theory it could go right down at some point in the future?

No, difficultly only increases if the miners add more hashing power to the network.

So for example, if a miner adds new tech that increases their hashing ability so that they
can do 2x more work than previously, then they will potentially find blocks 2x faster than
prior. When this happens, blocks will be found faster than the 10 minute average, maybe
every 8 to 9 minutes for example. When the next difficultly adjustment arrives (every 2016
blocks) the network will see that blocks are found faster than the 10 minute average and will
increase the difficultly for the next 2016 blocks. Likewise, if miners turn off their hashing
power during this difficultly term, at the next adjustment the difficultly may go down.

Yes, in theory, difficultly could go down to such a point that home PCs could mine again.
It is not very likely since many people will push the difficultly back up and they will form
pools again, and be back to where we are now over time, but yes in theory it could happen.

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odolvlobo
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March 03, 2017, 08:28:43 AM
 #5

If you look at a graph showing the difficulty since the beginning you will see that there have been periods where the difficulty has dropped.

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Chivas Regal
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March 04, 2017, 12:35:11 AM
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But doesn't BitCoin just revert to processing transactions when the final block is found?  The blocks after that are simply the revenue that is created from the TX's - in effect miners can then either price gauge or undercut as they please?
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March 04, 2017, 01:44:36 AM
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But doesn't BitCoin just revert to processing transactions when the final block is found?  The blocks after that are simply the revenue that is created from the TX's - in effect miners can then either price gauge or undercut as they please?

There will still be competition for miners fees. I'm fairly certain Satoshi envisioned the sum of fees would be very high at the time the last block would be mined. Keeping the incentive for miners.

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March 04, 2017, 07:50:52 AM
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But doesn't BitCoin just revert to processing transactions when the final block is found?  The blocks after that are simply the revenue that is created from the TX's - in effect miners can then either price gauge or undercut as they please?

"revert to processing transactions"? But that's what happens now. "the final block"? There is no final block.

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March 04, 2017, 10:05:21 AM
 #9

What happens to the network difficulty?
Fees are already 1 BTC each 10 minutes around when block reward is 12,5 BTC.
So when in future, block reward will be 6,25 BTC or 3,12 BTC fees will eventually overcome block rewards Smiley

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March 05, 2017, 02:56:26 AM
 #10

And what happens when we reach the technology singularity? Imagine processing power getting 10x stronger every year, would the fees be worth it?
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March 05, 2017, 03:23:54 AM
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And what happens when we reach the technology singularity? Imagine processing power getting 10x stronger every year, would the fees be worth it?

it will depends on the BTC price in that time, i think if btc is worth around 5k USD it is still worth it otherwise miners will be on loss because of the maintenance and electricity fees

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