Mining is the term used for running a series of calculations on a computer to verify the transactions that take place in the Bitcoin network. About every ten minutes, a new block of transaction data is created and the miners who created the block are awarded a few bitcoins. This serves the Bitcoin network both as a system to verify transactions and as a system for fairly distributing new bitcoins.
Although it used to be profitable to mine bitcoins with your standard personal computer, the cost of the electricity necessary to do so is now greater than the value of the bitcoins you could mine. Profitable mining now requires specialized hardware that can perform more computations with greater power efficiency.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at mining, we are currently preparing an article with more advanced information. Sign up for our mailing list or subscribe to our feeds (RSS2/Atom) to be informed the moment it’s published.