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I searched the internet to find out who (or what) was taking advantage of the result of mining but I couldn't find a clear and complete answer (and sources).

I know Bitcoin miners decrypt hashes, but what is that useful for? I guess there is something behind that, otherwise why should we need to decrypt hashes, why should we need a huge power 24/7? Is that really ethical to mine Bitcoins ?

I'm not very familiar with virtual money, I may have missed something!

  • 1
    possible duplicate: What is the rationale behind Bitcoin mining? – Murch Oct 14 '14 at 22:18
  • I read this post but it didn't brought me every information i wanted to have, even if it wasn't uninteresting to read – Olivier Oct 15 '14 at 19:07
  • Perhaps this will provide the other information: What exactly is Mining? – Murch Oct 15 '14 at 19:36
  • All the power used to mine Bitcoins is only necessary for the money itself ? This article says the Bitcoin power and energy is just wasted, is that really the case ? I mean if some people want to mine just for "pleasure" (and i saw some people that), there is much more interesting stuff to do with your computer (it's mention in the article above). – Olivier Oct 15 '14 at 19:42
  • This is more about the technical side but it helps me helps to understand better – Olivier Oct 15 '14 at 19:54
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It is useful to the currency itself.

Bitcoin tries to be a democratic currency rather than being controlled by a central authority. Democracy means that the majority of people rule by their vote. This is a concept that might work in real life (all irony intended), but it's hard to pull off on the Internet since we can't simply prevent one real person from creating thousands of virtual identities and using them to make his vote louder (so called Sybil attack).

Bitcoin solves this via a concept known as proof-of-work, which requires some non-trivial work to be done for every vote to be registered. While it is not a perfect solution (surely one can manage to do twice as much work as somebody less capable), it has an ambition to prevent all serious scams, making it infeasible for a single entity to overpower (outvote) the crowd.

Mining is the process of voting, and miners are the voters. Every voter has to find a reverse hash according to some very specific rules, which is considered a hard work. All the others can verify his solution easily.

I know this does not describe the problem entirely (and it was not my goal), but it should give you the idea. If interested in the technical details, please see the original paper or read some articles explaining Bitcoin in-depth. There's plenty of them out there, but be prepared to spend a few hours going through the stuff.

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Nothing is being "decrypted" (regardless of the fact that "decrypting hashes" is nonsense by itself). In fact, nothing about Bitcoin is encrypted whatsoever. Cryptography, yes (involving hashes and digital signatures). Encryption, no.

And who is taking advantage of all this mining effort? All Bitcoin users, that's who! Because the more mining power in the network, the safer Bitcoin becomes.

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