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If the goal of PoW is only to have a single truth verifiable by all to which to converge.

  1. Is it correct to say that PoW is only a method that serves to make it very unlikely that many solutions coexist in parallel for the same block?

  2. And so is it a great way to converge to just one chain?

  3. And that the fact that it is energy-intensive is just a side effect?

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Is it correct to say that PoW is only a method that serves to make it very unlikely that many solutions coexist in parallel for the same block?

No. PoW is a method by which an amorphous mass of participants select one participant to provide an order (a sequencing) for transactions in a way that all nodes can each independently recognise, test and accept.

And so is it a great way to converge to just one chain?

That is an objective that it has succeeded in over the last decade or more.

And that the fact that it is energy-intensive is just a side effect?

No, the energy intensiveness is an inevitable consequence of the PoW method and Bitcoin's success in terms of the financial value of block-rewards and transaction-fees.

I don't think there is a known different PoW algorithm that would not cause total work rate to rise until it's cost approaches the value of the rewards.

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That would be the follow the first block seen at the tip rule. The first block seen is a special case of the longest valid chain rule.

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PoW and the longest valid chain rule indeed appears to converge to jut one longest valid chain.

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There is nothing that says the PoW has to be energy-intensive. It happens to be energy-intensive in our universe by virtue of more and more actors piling in who are attempting to carve out an increasingly smaller and smaller share of the block subsidy and fee pie.

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  • I can understand only your third answer, could you rephrase the first two please?
    – Stef
    Jul 22, 2022 at 23:42

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