As bitcoin has grown in popularity, there has been increased competition among interested individuals to mine bitcoin for profit.
Early miners were able to use their desktop computers to mine bitcoin, but as the block chain grew in size and complexity, miners had to devote greater and greater resources to the task of mining.
After outgrowing the capacity of regular computers, miners began using graphics cards (like those that process information for video games), but such cards use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat, which can bring about its own set of problems (and reduce the potential profitability of any mined bitcoin).
Miners then graduated to modifying other types of computer chips to the task of bitcoin mining though these other methods also use a lot of power and are not always sufficient to keep up with the ever-growing block chain. For many people who are interested in mining bitcoin, the solution has been to use mining pools. This is where groups of people pool their processing resources or even buy into a mining pool under a single shared address.
Share the Reward When a block chain is completed and new bitcoin is created, the miners in the pool share the reward among themselves based on the proportion of each miner’s allocated resources.
Bitcoins can also be acquired through other means, typically through purchasing them directly from someone who already has some, or by engaging in sales or other transactions where bitcoin s are passed from one user to another.