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Let's say we're X years in the future and we the last bitcoin has been minted. Since you can no longer incentivize mining new nodes of the blockchain, how will transactions continue to be verified?

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You can still incentivize mining new blocks with transaction fees. So the premise of the question is false.

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  • Are these transaction fees from some given pool? What if a pool decides to not have transaction fees?
    – user10259
    Dec 27, 2013 at 10:56
  • @LeftoverSalad The transaction fees come from transactions. Each transaction can include a fee that goes to the miner who includes that transaction in a block and miners do not have to include transactions in blocks they mine if they don't want to. Dec 27, 2013 at 11:51
  • Ah, that's what I wasn't getting! Marked as answered.
    – user10259
    Dec 27, 2013 at 11:52
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    @LeftoverSalad There is, of course, a fair question about how well that will work. For example, right after someone finds a block, all the "juicy" transactions will be taken. There may be reduced incentive to mine until more high-fee transactions build up. This is especially true if people conserve electricity by shutting down mining equipment when the reward is too low. Dec 27, 2013 at 13:10
  • That would lead to less than 1 block per 10 minutes and thus a decrease in difficulty. And/or it may lead to people paying a higher fee as to keep the incentive to mine high enough. It's a completely free market mechanism, very transparent and with low barrier to entry for new players (miners).
    – Jannes
    Jan 1, 2014 at 5:32

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