I'm curious about traditional bitcoin mining, before pooling. Did an older version of the bitcoin wallet found on sourceforge have a mining feature built in which worked on a simple macbook? if so was this later removed in favor of pooling software?

From what I've read the traditional bitcoin wallet had a mining feature which could be used on a macbook, and I'm wondering if that code would still be possible to use, even if it never wins any bitcoin..

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The official Bitcoin full node software always had the mining feature built in, and will probably always have. If you have the line gen=1 in your .conf file, then you will start confirming transactions when you open the wallet. Take a look at https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Running_Bitcoin

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