The first considerable change for the Bitcoin market nears — the date when rewards for 'mining' the digital currency drop from 50 to 25 bitcoins per block generated.

There are two ways to obtain bitcoins, a digital alternative to cash. The easiest is to buy from a Bitcoin exchange, much like many people exchange U.S. dollars for foreign currency. People with sophisticated computer hardware have the more lucrative option of 'mining' the currency, which means they obtain new bitcoins as they are generated and verify their uniqueness to put them into circulation.

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