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I understand that a miner has a list of bitcoin transactions since the last time a a block was discovered. The first entry is the reward for who discovered the previous block. As more transactions gets added, they're appended to this list. This part is speculation, but I think there's also a nonce that the miners inject in order to produce a hash output that meets the difficulty.

Where can I find out the specifics about what exactly is hashed? I'm looking to understand the exact bytes and structure.

  • possible duplicate of What are bitcoin miners really solving? – Murch Nov 7 '15 at 11:54
  • The first entry is not the reward for who discovered the previous block. The first transaction is unique to each miner and causes the block reward of the upcoming block to be spend to the miner that discovers the block. – Murch Nov 7 '15 at 11:57
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The data that's hashed is the block header. You can find a description of the format and layout at https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_hashing_algorithm

  • How does a Generation block differ? What goes in the hashPrevBlock section of the generation block? All zeros? – Corey Ogburn Sep 29 '15 at 18:44
  • @CoreyOgburn: Do you mean the genesis block, the very first block in the block chain? Yes, the hashPrevBlock field is set to zero. Everything else is the same. – Nate Eldredge Sep 29 '15 at 18:48

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