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I'm not interesting in mining myself, just interested in the topic. I understand that you can still get bitcoin by contributing computation power to a pool (a company)

  1. Does only one person/company receive the bitcoin reward every 10 minutes? So in 1 hour, only 6 individual/company gets the reward? It's a zero-sum game?

  2. If #1 is true, doesn't that mean only the fastest/best machines has any chance of getting the reward?

  3. If #1 and #2 are true, does that mean that mining without joining a pool is a futile effort for any average individual with average income because he cannot compete with pools and companies have more powerful computers?

  4. if #1,2,3 are true, does that mean that the companies that sell mining computers/devices are marketed towards those who join pools rather than mine the network themselves?

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    In order: yes, no, no, yes.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 3:54
  • 1
    On a related note: you'll get more focused answers if you stick to one question at a time.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 4:17
  • Additionally, please summarize your question in the title, instead of describing/categorizing it.
    – Murch
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 12:13
  • As pointed out by Nick, this should be split into several posts, yet all of the points have been answered in some form or another anyway. See e.g. Why doesn't the same miner always win?, How does the network adjust the rate at which the coins are created?, Wouldn't the expected return of a mining pool be no more than solo mining?.
    – Murch
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 14:05
  • Hence, as this question is a composite of multiple duplicates, the title being unsubstantial, and it therefore being of little long-term value for the site, I have downvoted it, and propose to delete it. Please create a new post for each question that remains unanswered and interesting to you.
    – Murch
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 14:11

1 Answer 1

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It's more like a lottery than like a race. Let's say one miner has 90% of the hashrate and another has 10%. It is not true that every 10 minutes the big miner will always win because he's faster. Rather, the big miner has 90% chance of winning and the small miner has 10% - in exact proportion to their hashrate (unless they carry out some sophisticated attacks).

As such, to compete you don't need a more powerful computer, but a more efficient one. If the computer is efficient enough, then you'll be profitable and what you'll get is exactly proportional to its power.

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    Hey Meni, Thanks for your continued effort here. It pains me point out, that this question and therefore also your answer will probably not survive, as the question doesn't work well with our format. I suggest that you re-post your answer to Why doesn't the same miner always win?, where it would also fit well. Please consider not answering low-quality posts, as your effort might just be wasted.
    – Murch
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 14:20
  • @Murch: I understand what you're saying, but while it might not be the SE way, I feel uncomfortable leaving questions unanswered. I adjust the amount of effort put into the answer - for a low-quality question I spend only a minute or so, in full knowledge it might go to waste. Specifically, I don't think much of this answer can be reused, as I didn't actually talk about why the fastest miner doesn't always win. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 18:11

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