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Questions tagged [mining-theory]

The underlying concepts and game theory of mining.

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What exactly is Mining?

I have heard that mining is for people with ready hardware and blah blah blah... But what exactly is it? Does it operate like real mining? I mean, people talk about it like you are physically mining.
Phonics The Hedgehog's user avatar
163 votes
6 answers
292k views

What are bitcoin miners really solving?

As with mining, what are the bitcoin miners really solving? I read they are solving hashes, but what does that really mean. Can we see what they are solving? Can someone give an example of what a ...
Patoshi パトシ's user avatar
132 votes
10 answers
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How much will transaction fees eventually be?

Some people keep evangelizing that Bitcoin transaction fees are much lower than in PayPal or with credit cards. However, once nearly all 21 million bitcoins have been mined, the network will still ...
herzmeister's user avatar
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123 votes
5 answers
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Why is 6 the number of confirms that is considered secure?

Why is 6 is the number of confirmations that is considered secure? I haven't found any mathematical explanation or otherwise that explains why it is 6 and not 5 or 7. Is there a historical reason for ...
osmosis's user avatar
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67 votes
9 answers
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Where do bitcoins come from and what gives them their value?

Where do bitcoins come from? From the WeUseCoins.com video it appears they are just being produced by "miners" and sold to people. So who backs Bitcoin or gives it its value?
eMansipater's user avatar
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60 votes
4 answers
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What keeps the average block time at 10 minutes?

I've been told "the network" sets the difficulty level such that there will be one new block mined every ten minutes. I imagine the rich would instead prefer to keep difficulty as high as possible to ...
billpg's user avatar
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54 votes
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Why was the target block time chosen to be 10 minutes?

According to the wiki, 10 minutes was chosen as a 'tradeoff'. Why ten minutes specifically? It is a tradeoff chosen by Satoshi between propagation time of new blocks in large networks and the amount ...
z7sg Ѫ's user avatar
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50 votes
2 answers
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What happens if two miners mine the next block at the same time?

The process of mining as described in the answer to this question is simultaneously repeated by multiple miners. Is it possible for two miners to find the next block at the same instant? If it is, ...
Emre K.'s user avatar
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42 votes
8 answers
21k views

Can bitcoin exist without miners?

In the past year only, the bitcoin mining difficulty has increased fivefold. If in the coming years the difficulty increases so much that mining is no longer profitable (i.e. consumes more power than ...
Eduard Avetisyan's user avatar
37 votes
2 answers
75k views

What is Gas Limit in Ethereum?

What is the function of Gas Limit parameter in Ethereum? Is it involved in mining or something else?
Sebastian Xawery Wiśniowiecki's user avatar
31 votes
3 answers
45k views

How does proof-of-stake "mining" work? [closed]

I know and understand the concept of proof-of-stake. Instead of requiring users to do a certain amount of power-intensive hashing "work", it requires you to own a certain stake of the currency in ...
Steven Roose's user avatar
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30 votes
3 answers
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Are there algorithms that could have been chosen for mining that balance CPU/GPU?

The mining algorithm for Bitcoins (and most alternative but similar currencies as well) is purely computation hard, but not decision hard or memory hard. This caused the unexpected effect that GPUs ...
David Schwartz's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
18k views

What does the term "Longest chain" mean?

What does the term "Longest chain" mean, as there is only one 'right' blockchain exists? How another longer chain would make the 'right' chain invalid?
vi.su.'s user avatar
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26 votes
7 answers
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Why did Satoshi design Bitcoin to be mineable only on specialized hardware, if the goal was decentralization?

GPU-mineable cryptos are arguably more decentralized. Did he simply miss this design aspect or does this sound fishy to you?
parliament's user avatar
26 votes
3 answers
82k views

The bitcoin mining algorithm from a programmer's viewpoint

This page: Blocks said mining is actually to solve a mathematical problem, but reading Block hashing algorithm doesn't give much help. I also tried reading bitcoind source code, but reading code takes ...
Mark Ma's user avatar
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26 votes
6 answers
36k views

What happens to the bitcoin network when the miners all stop in the future?

What happens to the bitcoin network when the miners all stop, years in the future after all the bitcoins have been mined? How will the network continue to function? Won't bitcoins then be useless? ...
Demioprax's user avatar
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25 votes
1 answer
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When a block is "discovered" how is the nonce determined?

I know that a block is based on a random number called a nonce, but if that number is random and unknown to the miner, how is that number actually verified as the correct nonce and not some arbitrary ...
Andrew's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
6k views

What happens if there are no transactions in a block?

What happens if there are no transactions in a block? Suppose there is a 10 minute time frame in the middle of the night, maybe on a holiday, and there are no transactions made. Do the miners get ...
shoeless joe's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
30k views

What does it mean for a cryptocurrency to be ASIC-resistant?

I guess the question I'm asking here is what does it take for an altcoin to be ASIC-resistant? What does it need to have?
Sol Crenshaw's user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
8k views

51% attack - apparently very easy? refering to CZ's "rollback btc chain" - How to make sure such corruptible scenario can never happen so easily?

I was shocked to see binance CZ comment to literally "roll back" the bitcoin chain by just "calling" in some favors from "friendly" Asian miners . This ONE person could effectively do it??? I mean ...
johnsmiththelird's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
2k views

How often forks occur?

How often do forks occur in the block chain? I'm interested in the small, one block forks that happen when two miners create a block at the similar time.
ThePiachu's user avatar
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20 votes
6 answers
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Why do we need Proof of Work in bitcoin?

I know that proof of work shows that the person has put in some time and power into the processing. I also know that bitcoin mining is adding a transaction into the blockchain and then the miner will ...
user153882's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
9k views

How can one embed custom data in block headers?

Some mining pool admins put custom data in block headers, like prayers. How do they do that? Where can I see that data for myself?
herzmeister's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
12k views

What is proof-of-work?

Please explain the proof-of-work concept. And how does it relate to Bitcoin mining in general, and to the proofs of work (aka shares) of mining pools?
Dr.Haribo's user avatar
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18 votes
6 answers
35k views

Why can't they use super computers to mine all the bitcoins?

I have very limited knowledge of bitcoin, but, I hope you don't mind my asking this question: As I understand it, "mining bitcoin" requires "significant" computational prowess. A lot of dedicated ...
thatmaheshrs's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do you create a planet-specific cryptocurrency that will ignore longer block chains from other planets?

I'm sure that cryptocurrencies will play a huge part of the economy across the solar system, when we have colonized many different planets, moons, and asteroids. But there are problems with using a ...
user18953's user avatar
  • 185
16 votes
2 answers
4k views

What happens if hash rate decreases rapidly?

Since difficulty is only adjusted every 2016 blocks, what would happen if hash rate was to decrease rapidly? Wouldn't this cause blocks to be created less frequently and also making the time until ...
D.H.'s user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
25k views

What is a nonce?

When I see the block info on blockchain, I see that there is a field named "nonce", I could not find any relevant information on web regarding what a nonce is. Please explain what a nonce is what is ...
GypsyCosmonaut's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
3k views

Are there algorithms that could be used for mining that resist acceleration with ASICs?

In my related question about mining algorithms that balance CPU and GPU it came up that such an algorithm would tremendously increase the incentive for people to create mining botnets. The prospect of ...
David Schwartz's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

What happens once mining speed gets close to zero?

According to Wikipedia The number of Bitcoins created per block is never more than 50 BTC, and the awards are programmed to decrease over time towards zero, such that no more than 21 million will ...
sharptooth's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
661 views

How will bitcoin stay decentralized when mining becomes extremely expensive?

My understanding of bitcoin is that the miners are the ones keeping bitcoin decentralized. What happens when only the richest of people can afford mining?
rewol's user avatar
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14 votes
6 answers
7k views

So I mined a block, but why would other nodes accept my mined block?

When a miner finds a hash and is thus able to confirm a block of transactions, that miner will then broadcast the confirmation (block?) to the other Bitcoin nodes so that it can be added to the ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 405
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why doesn't the same miner always win?

If the miner with the strongest ability to solve the block wins, why doesn't the same miner win every time? Wouldn't that miner still have the strongest ability to perform the proof of work on the ...
Jonathan Chad Faling's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the approximate hashrate of a human?

Which and how much mathematical operations are required for the blockheader-to-blockhash operation and how fast would a human be able to calculate a single hash? EDIT: For simplicity, I think it's a ...
Steven Roose's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why can't we design a bitcoin that does useful work? [duplicate]

The bitcoin network, including every miner, is the biggest computing project that humanity has created. Thus I ask: why, instead of using it to generate useless data, don't we use it to generate ...
Dokkat's user avatar
  • 139
13 votes
4 answers
7k views

What is more effective than ASIC mining?

Considering that mining progressed from CPU, to GPU, to FPGA, and now ASIC mining... have we finally hit the end of the road for technological advancement? What future optimizations can occur after ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why do miners go offline?

As per my understanding mining process in bitcoin is fully automated. A manual intervention is needed only when: (i) A hardware failure occurs (ii) You might want to cool down the hardware (iii) You ...
shubham kumar's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
26k views

What happens when the 21 million cap is reached? [duplicate]

I've just recently gotten into bitcoin, but I'm a bit confused about this 21 million bitcoin cap. From what I've read, computers on the bitcoin network validate transactions, which confirms the ...
Timothy Deng's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

What can be done to slow/prevent mining centralization?

Assuming all buyers have access to the same ASICs (ignoring that ASICs developers and manufacturers will always have the latest first, even if only used for "testing" prior to sale) energy costs would ...
Chris Silva's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
864 views

Flaw in Bitcoin protocol regarding incentives to share transactions

Once the 50BTC per block rewards have halved many times and the transaction fees start to become the primary reward for miners, it sound like there is incentive for miners to not pass on transactions ...
Highly Irregular's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do you need the *complete* blockchain to mine bitcoins, why not just the last n blocks?

I understand that to mine bitcoins you need the hash of the previous block, and in order to resolve possible forks. But why not just have the last 100 blocks (or more whatever is appropriate) and keep ...
user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
7k views

What is the rationale behind Bitcoin mining?

I don't understand the logic of "mining", if bitcoins are a digital currency, why do we need a GPU to "make 'em"?
Pascual's user avatar
  • 111
10 votes
3 answers
5k views

Probablity Distribution of mining

What is the probability distribution of solving a block, given the same difficulty. So if I try to mine multiple times using the same difficulty, is it normal distribution with mean of 10 minutes? ...
jaybny's user avatar
  • 183
10 votes
5 answers
7k views

What features of scrypt() make Tenebrix GPU-resistant?

There's a fork of Bitcoin called Tenebrix that is claiming to be CPU-friendly and GPU-resistant (with regard to mining). They say that this is because they're using scrypt instead of SHA256. From what ...
David Perry's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does mining a block force others to restart their work?

Does mining a block mean that anyone else who was working on mining a block loses their progress and must restart?
Casebash's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

What (if anything) in the bitcoin protocol prevents bias against certain accounts?

The bitcoin protocol allows miners to choose which transactions to include when they create a block. They can't include any inauthentic transactions, but to allow for an open market of transaction ...
Darby Haller's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
9k views

Download single and specific block for study purposes

I just started studying bitcoin. I would like to be able to download a single block from the Bitcoin network. This should be an old block, already mined, and which I can know the nonce. Then I ...
Jacquelyn.Marquardt's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do miners have both the incentive and ability to keep the reward at 50BTC?

There has been some concern about the fact that transaction fees (in their current form) are not an adequate replacement for the current 50BTC block reward. Gavin has said as much, as have others. ...
eldentyrell's user avatar
  • 1,231
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

Calculate hash of block header

I'm trying to calculate the hash of block #502871. This is the block: { "result": { "hash": "00000000000000000020cf2bdc6563fb25c424af588d5fb7223461e72715e4a9", "confirmations": 35, "...
CamiloARG's user avatar
  • 177
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to prevent a miner from stealing another miner's block?

Many articles only contain a phrasing like A miner A solves the hash problem and gives the result to the network to check. Once a majority of the network confirms, A gets the reward. But how does ...
Mithril's user avatar
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