# Tag Info

152

Here is an extremely simplified sketch of the problem, but it should give a pretty good idea of what the problem is. The data: This is the hash of the lastest block (shortened to 30 characters): 00000000000001adf44c7d69767585 These are the hashes of a few valid transactions waiting for inclusion (shortened). 5572eca4dd4 db7d0c0b845 And this the hash ...

77

Bitcoin was not designed to only be mineable with specialized hardware. When Bitcoin was created in 2009, ASIC miners did not exist, SHA256d ASICs did not exist. Even GPU mining software did not exist because mining was a completely new thing. Bitcoin's difficulty was low enough for Bitcoin to be CPU mined on a laptop. However over time, as more and more ...

68

The following is a description of the global, statistical gamble which is played every 10 or so minutes. The interval of the game is controlled by the difficulty which says how many "hashes" are needed per interval. In other words, the difficulty and target define the "odds of the house" against your chance of getting a winning SHA hash. The nonce is the ...

59

In Ethereum, gas is a measure of computational effort. To each operation, a fixed amount of gas is assigned (e.g. adding two numbers costs 3 gas, calculating a hash costs 30 gas, sending a transaction costs 21000 gas [1]). Since computation is expensive (mind that it has to be done by every full node in the network), excessive consumption of gas needs to be ...

43

They try to find a random nonce (a little random data) that goes into a block and makes the block have a (SHA256) hash that (in binary) starts with a certain amount of 0's. The more zeroes the more rare hash is. A good hash' outcome is not predictable, and so you have to try a lot of times to find a good nonce. The amount of zeroes are based on how ...

39

if in the coming years the difficulty increases so much that mining is no longer profitable That's not really possible. The mining power is set so that the miners need 10 minutes in average to mine a block. If 50% of the miners would disappear because it's not profitable any more, the difficulty would decrease so that it's profitable again. Can the ...

37

The Mining Algorithm is as follows: Step 0 - Retrieve the hash of the previous block from the network. Step 1 - Gather a list of potential transactions known as a "block". This list of transactions comes from the peer-to-peer bitcoin network. Step 2 - Calculate a hash for a block of potential transactions along with a random number. Step 3 - If the hash is ...

37

Disclaimer: I believe this question may be primarily opinion-based and not very appropriate for this site, but there are a number of technical misunderstandings that can be clarified along with it, so I'll give it a shot. There are many nuances involved here, and I fear that a large part of them didn't reach as much of an audience as the exchange announcing ...

32

One of the most common reasons for which miners go offline is when their profitability drops below the cost of electricity - this could either be the result of the BTC price dropping, or their local operating costs (costs including air conditioning, power, networking, hardware depreciation, etc.) rising, or the total network hashrate rising faster than they ...

31

Yes, it is possible, and you can actually follow "orphaned blocks" here: https://blockchain.info/orphaned-blocks Bitcoin clients always trust the longest chain, so if two blocks is mined on the same time, it's up to (51% of) the miners to decide which is going to be 'accepted' and which is going to be worthless. This is one of the reasons why you shouldn't ...

24

In Nextcoin, proof of stake is used. So the "mining" process there is just about holding coins and leaving your computer on. It doesn't involve powerful CPUs. Each block (every 60 seconds), a random Nextcoin is selected to be the next "miner". There are 1 billion coins so the odds of a single wallet being selected is the number of Nxt in that wallet ...

21

The user C121 on r/bitcoin explored this topic in the thread Mining Bitcoin by hand. He states that it takes 3385 integer operations to calculate one double SHA-256 hash. His conclusion was that you would reach about 0.00003 H/s, or in other terms, it would take about 9.4 hours for one hash, assuming the human in question could do a 32-bit operation in 10 ...

21

It means that there will be no significant speedup by implementing the algorithm in an ASIC, as compared to a CPU based implementation. This is usually achieved by requiring a lot of memory, which when implementing this on an ASIC, translates to needing lots of physical area on the chip. ASIC implementations derive their power from having many physically ...

19

The 51% attack is emergent behavior of the system. It's not because there's a "50%" buried somewhere in the protocol that can just be changed to 60% or 75%. Someone with more hashing power than everyone else combined can, given enough time, always build a longer chain than everyone else.

18

Solving SHA256 hash problems on Bitcoin is useful in the sense that secures the Bitcoin blockchain, but if your question is: "why can't it do something computationally useful as a side-effect?", then I think the answer is "we don't know how". For Bitcoin to work, the proof-of-work that miners do must have the following properties: Easy to verify solutions ...

17

Mining is not won by the miner with the "strongest ability to solve the block". Mining is a random progress-free process. Each block candidate independently has a tiny chance to be a valid block. Each miner is working on a separate, non-overlapping block candidate set. Block candidates assign the block reward to their author with an output in the ...

16

Bitcoin becomes very insecure if miners stop mining. Think of how easy a 51% attack would be to pull off. However, I disagree with your assumption that miners will stop. And certainly that if Bitcoin dies it would be because miners stop. I would instead think that miners would only stop if something else already killed Bitcoin. Bitcoin is designed to always ...

16

The incentive to mine on the currently longest chain is that there is a risk to the dishonest miner that honest, non-mining nodes may have already propagated the first block and hence reject and not propagate the second block found at an equal block height. As Proof of Work is not reusable this leads the dishonest miner to waste resources.

15

An ASIC is another way of running a program or calculation or what have you (in our case mining) using a PCB/Hardware instead of Software running on a general purpose computer. GPUs are technically ASICs, their application being graphics processing and output. ASIC resistance means your crypto is more fairly distributed because their is no centralization ...

15

How to calculate the target from bits Let's start with a block-header, always 80-bytes that looks like this: 04000000b9e2784a84e5d2468cee60ad14e08d0fee5dda49a37148040000000000000000e9dd2b13157508891880ef68729a1e5ecdde58062ebfa214a89f0141e5a4717faefd2b577627061880564bec From the 80-bytes, the bits are actually the 72nd to 76th byte: ...

14

A 2X rate with a 50% chance of missing a winning nonce is no advantage at all. Incrementing the nonce is the easiest mechanism of choosing the next nonce to try, so you try the most nonces per second that way. That's all that matters. Perhaps you are under the mistaken impression that everyone is trying to mine the same block. That is not so. If you are a ...

13

Mining provides a way to reach consensus on what the transaction ledger should look like and know that nobody is cheating. That's the non-technical definition of mining. What exactly is Mining? The "authority" for double spending is the blockchain. The blockchain consists of the history of all blocks in the blockchain plus the next block of transactions. ...

13

What Nicolai said is not completely right. The network would decide which one is the main chain according to the following block mined. Let's assume that block A and B are mined at almost the same time. The miners would accept the first block that was broadcast to them, so there would be some miners accept A and others accept B, it doesn't matter whether A/B ...

13

A supercomputer is way slower than mining with ASICs. A supercomputer only has much CPU power, not even GPU power and ASICs are way more powerfull than GPUs. ASICs represent the hashing algorithm as hardware which means they can't do anything else, that's why they are so fast. At http://bitcoinwatch.com/ you can see the current network hashrate in PetaFLOPS,...

13

Asking how to prevent the mining industry from being centralized into places with low electricity costs is like asking how to prevent the shipping industry from being centralized into cities that are on the coast. Both industries will tend to thrive in places where the profit margins are highest...and there's no profit margin in building a port in a land-...

12

Bitcoin miners find a random number (called a "Nonce") that when inserted into the current block makes the hash be below the current target. They then send that current block around the network and everyone checks their work (the proof-of-work) by hashing the block and checking if the result is below the current target. In mining pools, miners do the same ...

12

Imagine I have 1 bitcoin. And imagine I can form a transaction to send that bitcoin to Alice or I can form a transaction to send that bitcoin to Charlie. Now, what stops me from forming both transactions? Nothing. So, if I do that, how will people know which transaction is valid? Clearly, without some reliable way to tell which of those two transactions ...

12

GPU-mineable cryptos are arguably more decentralized. Sure, but in a bad way. Say you want to attack or compromise bitcoin. You have to buy ASICs to do it. You could use GPUs or CPUs, but you would be at a tremendous disadvantage. The honest guys would win. So you have to invest in all these ASICs to attack bitcoin. And if you succeed, you turn your ...

11

As you mentioned, bringing coins into the network is one of the main purposes of mining. But this reward is just an incentive to do the other more important part of mining: 'processing' transactions. Immutability As detailed here, when a block has been solved, not a single bit can be changed without invalidating it. This means that all of the ...

11

Proof of Work (PoW) basically makes sure that miners don’t cheat. There is no way to trust that everyone in the network is honest, so there has to be some way to prevent miners from creating new blocks that benefit themselves. The way it works is that you have a bunch of people all trying to guess the answer to the math problem and no one knows who is ...

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