PoW concept and why its essential for cryptocurrencies. PoW concept and why its essential for cryptocurrencies. Proof-of-Work, or PoW, is the original consensus algorithm in a Blockchain network. In Blockchain , this algorithm is used to confirm transactions and produce new blocks to the chain. With PoW, miners compete against each other to complete transactions on the network and get rewarded. In a network users send each other digital tokens. A decentralized ledger gathers all the transactions into blocks. However, care should be taken to confirm the transactions and arrange blocks. This responsibility bears on special nodes called miners, and a process is called mining . The main working principles are a complicated mathematical puzzle and a possibility to easily prove the solution. What do you mean a mathematical puzzle? Its an issue that requires a lot of computational power to solve. hash function , or how to find the input knowing the output. integer factorization , in other words, how to present a number as a multiplication of two other numbers. guided tour puzzle protocol . If the server suspects a DoS attack, it requires a calculation of hash functions, for some nodes in a defined order. In this case, its a how to find a chain of hash function values problem. The answer to the PoW problem or mathematical equation is called hash. As the network is growing, it is facing more and more difficulties. The algorithms need more and more hash power to solve. So, the complexity of the task is a sensitive issue. Accurate work and speed of Blockchain system depend on it. But the problem shouldnt be too complicated. If it is, the block generation takes a lot of time. The transactions are stuck without execution and as a result, the workflow hangs for some time. If the pro Continue reading >>
How Bitcoin Mining Works - Coindesk
In traditional fiat money systems, governments simply print more money when they need to. But in bitcoin, money isn’t printed at all – it is discovered. Computers around the world ‘mine’ for coins by competing with each other. People are sending bitcoins to each other over the bitcoin network all the time, but unless someone keeps a record of all these transactions, no-one would be able to keep track of who had paid what. The bitcoin network deals with this by collecting all of the transactions made during a set period into a list, called a block. It’s the miners’ job to confirm those transactions, and write them into a general ledger. This general ledger is a long list of blocks, known as the 'blockchain'. It can be used to explore any transaction made between any bitcoin addresses, at any point on the network. Whenever a new block of transactions is created, it is added to the blockchain, creating an increasingly lengthy list of all the transactions that ever took place on the bitcoin network. A constantly updated copy of the block is given to everyone who participates, so that they know what is going on. But a general ledger has to be trusted, and all of this is held digitally. How can we be sure that the blockchain stays intact, and is never tampered with? This is where the miners come in. When a block of transactions is created, miners put it through a process. They take the information in the block, and apply a mathematical formula to it, turning it into something else. That something else is a far shorter, seemingly random sequence of letters and numbers known as a hash. This hash is stored along with the block, at the end of the blockchain at that point in time. Hashes have some interesting properties. It’s easy to produce a hash from a collection Continue reading >>
Explaining Blockchainhow Proof Of Work Enables Trustless Consensus
Software engineer with interests in social innovation, psychology, philosophy, ethics and spirituality. Co-founder @ coinfund.io and Consensus Labs, Inc. Explaining blockchain how proof of work enables trustless consensus Blockchain technology, of which Bitcoin is an example, can be quite hard to understand. Mainly this is because core concepts tend to get lost among the complexity of non-essential details. This article tries to fill the gap between general audience literature that is entirely uninformative to computer professionals and highly specialized literature that is informative, but often overwhelming. It is written for people with some technology background but without in-depth familiarity with this particular field. The subject of this article is technology of distributed trustless consensus, for this is the one area in which blockchain systems, like Bitcoin, are indeed a major breakthrough. When it comes to other goals, such as distributed data storage, anonymity, transaction verifiability, data obfuscation, shared ledgers, micropayments, high throughput, digital contracts, and so on, cryptographic blockchain systems are, essentially, incidental. Solutions to these problems are well known outside of the blockchain space and, consequently, I will not focus on them here. The main innovation that Satoshi Nakamoto introduced in his article is using so-called proof of work (POW) to create distributed trustless consensus and solve the double-spend problem. POW is not a new idea, but the way Satoshi combined this and other existing concepts cryptographic signatures, merkle chains, and P2P networks into a viable distributed consensus system, of which cryptocurrency is the first and basic application, was quite innovative. Proof of work is a requirement that expensiv Continue reading >>
The Proof-of-work Concept Daniel Krawisz
Perhaps the least intuitive aspect of the Bitcoin network is the proof-of-work concept it uses to define the requirement for the generation of a new set of transactions (" block ") to be added to the distributed transaction database (" block chain "). This concept, which grew out of ideas from the early cypherpunk movement 1 , is new to monetary theory and feels a little out of place in computer science too. I will show that biology gives us the most suitable framework for understanding it. All the blocks in the Bitcoin block chain have a short string of meaningless datacalled a nonce attached to them. The mining computers are required to search for the right meaningless string such that the block as a whole satisfies a certain arbitrary condition. Specifically, it is required that the SHA-256 hash of the block have a certain number of leading zeros. 2 Hashes are one-way functions, so there is no easy way to find the right nonce or otherwise to engineer a block to be correct. The only known way to find a good nonce is to simply to try randomly until one turns out to work. Khan Academy provides a visual explanation of proof-of-work: The procedure, remember, is totally arbitrary. It is simply an added complication, like a ritual, so as to make blocks more difficult to generate. Really anything else would do, as long as it was computationally difficult. Other crypto-currencies use other hash algorithms. There is no special condition from number theory which only someone like Shinichi Mochizuki could understand. 3 Although the purpose of the mining computers is to do the accounting for the block chain, most of the work they actually do is to search for good nonces, rather than anything to do with accounting. The energy used to find the nonces is lost forever. The energy do Continue reading >>
Mining Theory - Why Do We Need Proof Of Work In Bitcoin? - Bitcoin Stack Exchange
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 need to solve a pow problem. Why do we need this? What if we eliminated the proof of work step for the miners and what are the consequences of doing so? 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 are valid, the system is doomed. This is what PoW does. A miner cannot contribute PoW to both transactions at the same time -- he must pick one. Ok, I see how PoW is related to double spending, thanks user153882 Feb 10 at 0:27 "This is what PoW does. A miner cannot contribute PoW to both transactions at the same time -- he must pick one." Can you elaborate on this one? I am sure many users would appreciate this. as your answer stands now I can't see how and why POW is used in bitcoin still user56231 Jul 27 at 6:13 @user200300 I'm not quite sure what you're unclear about. Do you understand the problem I'm describing? Someone can form two valid transactions and we need some way for everyone to eventually agree on which one to accept. (Maybe it would help to ask your own question about what specifically you don't understand?) David Schwartz Jul 27 at 7:29 Hi David. How does the miner decide which transaction to commit POW to? And how does this selection help maintain the integrity of the blockchain? Also, isn't POW performed on a block, not on a transaction per se? nanonerd De Continue reading >>
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards . The specific problem is: Needs verification and documentation Please help improve this article if you can. ( Learn how and when to remove this template message ) A proof-of-work (POW) system (or protocol, or function) is an economic measure to deter denial of service attacks and other service abuses such as spam on a network by requiring some work from the service requester, usually meaning processing time by a computer. The concept was invented by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor as presented in a 1993 journal article.  The term "Proof of Work" or POW was first coined and formalized in a 1999 paper by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels.  An early example of the proof-of-work system used to give value to a currency is the Shell Money of the Solomon Islands . A key feature of these schemes is their asymmetry: the work must be moderately hard (but feasible) on the requester side but easy to check for the service provider. This idea is also known as a CPU cost function, client puzzle , computational puzzle or CPU pricing function. It is distinct from a CAPTCHA , which is intended for a human to solve quickly, rather than a computer. Proof of space (PoS) proposals apply the same principle by proving a dedicated amount of memory or disk space instead of CPU time. Proof of bandwidth approaches have been discussed in the context of cryptocurrency . Proof of ownership aims at proving that specific data are held by the prover. One popular systemused in bitcoin mining and Hashcash uses partial hash inversions to prove that work was done, as a good-will token to send an e-mail . For instance the following header represents about 252 hash computations to send a message to [email protected] on January 19, 2038 : Continue reading >>
Bitcoin's Future: Proof-of-stake Vs Proof-of-work
Join our community of 10 000 traders on Hacked.com for just $39 per month. Its no secret that merchants who immediately sell their Bitcoin for fiat currency create downward pressure on the Bitcoin price, but the merchants arent the only people to blame. The proof-of-work (POW) system used by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fails to create an incentive for miners to hold onto their coins. That means that as much as 3,600 BTC may be sold per day to pay for electricity and rent, alone. The mined bitcoins alone has a value of more than 180 000 USD. Depending on the type of pool used, some miners sell their coins instantly after being awarded their coins. Others sell throughout the day, or at the end of the week or month. This constant selling causes constant downward pressure on the Bitcoin price. Bitcoin is based on a POW (Proof of Work) system where the probability of mining a block is dependent on how much work is done by the miner.A proof-of-stake (POS)systems varies in that a person can mine depending on how many coins they hold. Simply put, a person owning 5% of a coin based ofproof-of-stake can mine 5% of the blocks in the same way that a person owning 5% of the bitcoin mining network will theoretically mine 5% of the blocks. There are fears that POW systems can lead to low network security, due to the Tragedy of the Commons, and this has led to some coins adopting a POS system. A tragedy of the commons for Bitcoin means that as payouts becomes smaller and smaller for Bitcoin miners, there is less incentive to avoid a 51% attack. The POS systems makes any 51% attack more expensive. Someone trying todoublespend and destroy faith in the networkwould have to own a majority of the coins, and the attacker would suffer from his actions. However, Proof-of-stake systems Continue reading >>
Proof Of Work - Bitcoin Wiki
A proof of work is a piece of data which is difficult (costly, time-consuming) to produce but easy for others to verify and which satisfies certain requirements. Producing a proof of work can be a random process with low probability so that a lot of trial and error is required on average before a valid proof of work is generated. Bitcoin uses the Hashcash proof of work system. One application of this idea is using Hashcash as a method to preventing email spam, requiring a proof of work on the email's contents (including the To address), on every email. Legitimate emails will be able to do the work to generate the proof easily (not much work is required for a single email), but mass spam emailers will have difficulty generating the required proofs (which would require huge computational resources). Hashcash proofs of work are used in Bitcoin for block generation. In order for a block to be accepted by network participants, miners must complete a proof of work which covers all of the data in the block. The difficulty of this work is adjusted so as to limit the rate at which new blocks can be generated by the network to one every 10 minutes. Due to the very low probability of successful generation, this makes it unpredictable which worker computer in the network will be able to generate the next block. For a block to be valid it must hash to a value less than the current target ; this means that each block indicates that work has been done generating it. Each block contains the hash of the preceding block, thus each block has a chain of blocks that together contain a large amount of work. Changing a block (which can only be done by making a new block containing the same predecessor) requires regenerating all successors and redoing the work they contain. This protects the Continue reading >>
Is Proof-of-work A Major Problem For Bitcoins Future?
Bitcoin is a very energy-inefficient project as of right now. The proof-of-work aspect has been discussed many times over. It seems community members are now advocating to change this algorithm altogether. With mining centralization becoming a real problem, such a change is not necessarily a bad thing. Generating new Bitcoins requires dedicated hardware. This hardware is expensive and consumes a lot of energy. As such, we regularly see reports of how inefficient and wasteful Bitcoin mining really is. These discussions always cause friction among community members as well. Changing this situation will not happen overnight, though. After all, the Bitcoin network is secure thanks to proof-of work. Without this solution in place, the network is open to hackers and other attacks. At the same time, the mining aspect of Bitcoin is not decentralized by any means. Unlike what some people think, a lot of the mining activity is centralized in many ways. In terms of hardware manufacturers, there is only one company that matters. Bitmain makes a healthy profit due to Bitcoins proof-of-work algorithm. It is expected the company made over $3bn in operating profits throughout 2017. That is quite a steep amount, but not entirely unexpected. The Chinese company has a monopoly on the market as of right now. Bringing more decentralization to Bitcoin is not easy. As long as the reliance on proof-of-work remains in place, centralization will remain a pressing threat. As the network becomes bigger, finding a solution becomes even more difficult. If this trend continues, China will control Bitcoin in every way one can imagine. It controls the hashrate, the mining hardware production, and most mining pools as well. Not an ideal situation for a decentralized currency whatsoever. The bigger ques Continue reading >>
Explaining How Proof Of Stake, Proof Of Work, Hashing And Blockchain Worktogether
ConsenSys BSIC CTO, @Goldman Alum, @Cisco Alum, @TFA Alum, Activist, Intense Autodidact Explaining How Proof of Stake, Proof of Work, Hashing and Blockchain WorkTogether Many of you may have heard about Proof of Stake, specifically that Ethereum is moving toward a hybrid model using Proof of Stake and Proof of Work. But of course, the same lot of you probably asked, What the heck is Proof of Stake really? Lets dive into that. There are, currently, two main Blockchain systems that the larger crypto-networks utilize: Both of these Blockchain systems govern how transactions are verified on the decentralized network. So before we explain what Proof of Stake is, we need to explain how Blockchains are formed. Take a look at this video to better explain the fundamental parts of a Blockchain. You can play around with making (conceptual) hashes, blocks, and blockchains here . What is a Hash? A hash is the result of a hash function or a function that simply takes data and converts it to an almost-unique, fixed size 256-bit (32-byte) string of numbers and letters. Heres an example: SHA256 + Hello World = a591a6d40bf420404a011733cfb7b190d62c65bf0bcda32b57b277d9ad9f146e Try this here. As you can see, even a small change in the initial data will completely change the hash! SHA256 + Hello Worl = 12fec4c65dd4455c48aff8977a7cd8ccb97539ad4cd7c37f13cf71ba8bee9a98 What is a Block? A block is a group of transactions in chronological order (or the best chronological order that the miner nodes can agree and organize the transactions in). Every block has, as its data, the hash of the previous block. Each block is made of a Block Header and a Block Body. The main way of identifying a block in the blockchain is via its block header hash. The block header hash is calculated by running the block Continue reading >>
Bitcoin: Permission, Access, And Proof-of-workwhats Thatabout?
enjoys learning about blockchain technology. Bitcoin: Permission, Access, and Proof-of-Work Whats thatabout? $135.816.003.617 USD that is the current market cap of Bitcoin (21.11.2017). In Wikipedias list of country GDPs , Bitcoin would rank today as number 57 with a higher market cap than the GDP of Kazakhstan (roughly $133 billion USD according to 2016 IMF data), just one place after Qatar. Thus, it is high noon and time to take a closer look on how Bitcoin works under the hood. In this article I will talk about who can access the Bitcoin blockchain and how consensus is achieved among thousands of nodes. The most popular blockchain platform with the widest global network of nodes (currently about 11.000 ) is the Bitcoin blockchain. It is the first implementation of a blockchain and has originally been proposed by the anonymous author Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. If you want to read the original Nakamoto Paper, see here . Effectively, the Bitcoin blockchain is a time-stamping server that timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work Satoshi Nakamoto This basically means that in order to prove that a transaction exists at a certain point in time, validating nodes in the network, so called miners, collect the transaction, add it to a block of transactions, and validate the block through proof-of-work (PoW). PoW will be explained in detail below. For now, this mechanism enables widely decentralized nodes to agree on a single state of the world, or on a single ledger of records. There is no restriction on which nodes are allowed to validate transactions as everyone can run the open-source mining protocol. To get a bet Continue reading >>
Learn Cryptography - Proof Of Work System
Bitcoins use of a Proof of Work system is one of the defining and unique characteristics it has as a cryptocurrency. It allows for Bitcoin miners to independently try to find the next block, and once they do that miner transmits the solution they found throughout the network. Now, the rest of the network is now being told that the solution for the next block is X, but with Bitcoin, they dont have to do all of the work that the miner did they just need to perform a single check that proves the miner did in fact do the work, and the block it found is in fact legitimate. How is this proof of work check performed? Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash function. By hashing the block sent by the miner and checking if it still fits the pattern for the next block, the network can easily prove that the miner did in fact find a block. Heres a less technical example. Say Bob wants to prove that he can do a really hard math question. Alice doesnt know what the answer is, but she knows that the answer, when put through a SHA-256 hash, is 73475cb40a568e8da8a045ced110137e159f890ac4da883b6b17dc651b3a8049. Bob completes the question and hashes his answer. Alice can then look at Bobs hash and compares it to the hash she has, and if they are identical, then she knows Bob found the right answer. Alice still does not know the answer or how Bob got that result but she knows that Bob arrived at the right answer. Bitcoin uses this type of a system for each block found and each block relies on including the previously found block in the generated hash. This means as soon as a block is found and propagated through the network, all of the previous work performed by miners is now irrelevant. Continue reading >>
Proof Of Work, Or Proof Ofwaste?
If youre moderately well versed in the blockchain ecosystem, then you would have by now come across the energy consumption debate that is taking place in relation to Bitcoin Mining. Yes, Bitcoin Mining requires a lot of energy, and not a modest amount either. Mining (under the current protocol of Bitcoins proof of work algorithm) is deliberately consumptive of energy. In fact, according to a recent Cointelegraph article, it was estimated that the Bitcoin network uses 0.14% of the global energy consumption and more power than several developing nations, as displayed in the illustration above. Now, bare in mind, nations need to heat and light households, operate machinery, power manufacturing plants, refrigerate food for millions of people, etc. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has to verify 5 transactions per second and add new blocks to the blockchain every 10 minutes or so, hardly major physical and computational graft, so, it does beg the question, is proof of work really the most efficient method of mining new coins and verifying transactions? Or, can we do better? Is it right that we continue inefficiently burning nation-state equivalent sums of electricity, for what is ultimately, an egg hunt that doesnt ultimately directly benefit the network? This factor, is perhaps the single point of disagreement that I have with most long-term Bitcoin community members. I cant recall a time that Ive ever heard (or read) a word from Andreas Antonopoulos that Ive disagreed with, apart from in relation to this matter. Even he admits that there is only room on this globe for 1 proof of work based network. The revelation in that statement being that multiple proof of work algorithms could ultimately cause some kind of energy crisis? Well, why do we need miners is the first important qu Continue reading >>
How Does Proof Of Work, Um,work?
Bitcoin uses Proof of Work to ensure blockchain security and consensus. Fine, but what does that mean? Proof of Work, as its name implies, requires that the decentralized participants that validate blocks show that they have invested significant computing power in doing so. In bitcoin, validators (known as miners) compete to process a block of transactions and add it to the blockchain. They do this by churning enough random guesses on their computer to come up with an answer within the parameters established by the bitcoin program. Hang on, thats confusing. So, they wildly guess and hope that their resulting answer ends up in a certain range? Sort of. The main character in this game is called a nonce, which for trivia lovers, is an abbreviation of number used once. In the case of bitcoin, the nonce is an integer between 0 and 4.294.967.296. The other main character is a hash, which is an algorithm (= a really long and complicated formula) that converts any sequence of characters (it could be the word dog, or it could be an entire novel) into a string of 64 letters or numbers. Hashes are a big part of what makes bitcoin secure. If you change so much as a comma in the text that is hashed (= has the algorithm applied to it), or if you so much as add a space, you get an entirely new hash. It could be a little different, or it could be very different, the outcome is random. Only its not really random, because every time you pass a particular text through a hash, you get the same string. If you change something, its different. For a given text, its always the same. Change one thing, and its not. So, if you hash a real estate purchase agreement or a last will and testament or a stock purchase deal, and put that on the blockchain, no-one can change the details without everyone Continue reading >>
Proof Of Work Vs Proof Of Stake: Basic Mining Guide
Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake: Basic Mining Guide Angel Investors, Startups & Blockchain developers... Recently you might have heard about the idea to move from an Ethereum consensus based on the Proof of Work (PoW) system to one based on the so-called Proof of Stake. In this article, I will explain to you the main differences between Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake and I will provide you a definition of mining, or the process new digital currencies are released through the network. Also, what will change regarding mining techniques if the Ethereum community decides to do the transition from work to stake? This article wants to be a basic guide to understanding the problem above. First of all, lets start with basic definitions. Proof of work is a protocol that has the main goal of deterring cyber-attacks such as a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) which has the purpose of exhausting the resources of a computer system by sending multiple fake requests. The Proof of work concept existed even before bitcoin , but Satoshi Nakamoto applied this technique to his/her we still dont know who Nakamoto really is digital currency revolutionizing the way traditional transactions are set. In fact, PoW idea was originally published by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor back in 1993, but the term proof of work was coined by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels in a document published in 1999. But, returning to date, Proof of work is maybe the biggest idea behind the Nakamotos Bitcoin white paper published back in 2008 because it allows trustless and distributed consensus. Whats trustless and distributed consensus? A trustless and distributed consensus system means that if you want to send and/or receive money from someone you dont need to trust in third-party services. When you use tra Continue reading >>