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You have the idea wrong: each transaction doesn’t need to reference the transaction that comes before it in a certain block, it needs to reference the transaction that created the outputs it is now spending. This ‘chain of transactions’ refers to following the history of certain outputs through time, not just the arbitrary transaction ordering within a block....


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The coinbase transaction is created when the miner creates the template for the block which they attempt to mine. Unlike regular transactions, it does not have regular inputs. The miner simply specifies the outputs to spend the coins, where the sum of the output amounts must be less than or equal to the total amount of fees in the block plus the subsidy. The ...


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Sure, the protocol could have been designed that way. The benefit would be that a block would be slightly smaller, since it only needs to contain a single address, rather than a full coinbase transaction. However, a benefit of the current system is that miners have the flexibility to pay out their coinbase transaction in some other way than sending it all ...


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