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For example, the SHA-256 of this word BUTTERFLY (origin ) is 8c62ace4f9ef8ccd08ca6fb992a8524bb7dbdc0530654bd254c9da07a660949a (HASH). This seemingly random string of letters and numbers contains three important properties:
Bitcoin mining involves three factors: the block, the mining difficulty and a random number. Heres how it all comes together:
Imagine our cube consists of the word BUTTERFLY discussed previously. In reality, the block could contain a list of recent, unverified transactions, but lets keep it simple. In order for the block to be solved, bitcoin utilizes a deceptively simple test: If the HASH result of the block begins with a certain number of zeros, then the block is considered confirmed.
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For our example, lets say that we have a mining difficulty of simply two, ie, our HASH should start with two zeros. .
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The problem: BUTTERFLY will always return the exact same HASH, and it doesnt begin with two zeros. Thus what we need is the next factor, a random number (called a NONCE). We carry this number, combine it with BUTTERFLY, and HASH again. If it doesnt start with two zeros, we change the number and try again, and because changing one little number changes the whole HASH outcome, there is no way to forecast the number well need to address this! .
We repeat this procedure over and over until we find a number that, when combined with BUTTERFLY, gives us a HASH that begins with two zeros. That number is the solution to the block. Here are some tries:
This arduous procedure of randomly trying to find a number that supplies the solution is what creates bitcoin mining such a computationally expensive process, and as more miners join the network, the tougher it gets. At November 2017, a normal home computer working alone, ie, not an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and not a part of a cloud mining network, could take 2.7 million years into mine one block. .
This has caused the rise of ASIC computers built particularly for mining and also to an increase in cloud mining.
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CPU mining. In the first days of bitcoin, mining difficulty was reduced and not a lot of miners were competing for cubes and rewards. This made it worthwhile to utilize your computers own central processing unit (CPU) to mine bitcoin. However, that strategy was soon replaced by GPU mining.
GPU mining. An graphics processing unit (GPU) is a powerful processor whose sole purpose is to help your computers graphics card in rendering 3D graphics. GPUs are not constructed for executive decisions (like CPUs) but to be somewhat good labourers, hence GPUs are able to execute over 800 times more instructions in precisely the exact same amount of time as a CPU.
FPGA mining. Next came mining using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These significantly outperformed GPUs and CPUs in the mining procedure as FPGAs are chips that can be programmed to perform certain instructions and only those instructions (instead of being repurposed for mining, such as GPUs were).
ASIC mining. Similar to FPGAs, application-specific integrated circuits are processors designed for a specific function, in our situation mining bitcoin, and nothing else. ASICs for bitcoin were introduced in 2013 and, as of November 2017, they are the best processors out there for mining bitcoin and they outperform FPGAs in power consumption. .
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Mining pools. To cancel the problem of mining a block, miners started organising in pools or cloud mining networks. Whenever a miner in one of those pools solves a block, the reward is shared with everyone in the swimming pool in a ratio representative of just how much work you put into the pool (even though you personally never solved the puzzle). .
Cloud mining. Clouds provide potential miners the ability to buy mining rigs in a remote data centre location. There are many obvious advantages, the most obvious being: no energy costs, no excess heat and nothing to sell when you opt to hang your digital pickaxe.
Once miners get bitcoin, they are given a virtual key to the bitcoin addresses. You can use this digital key to access and confirm or approve transactions.
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Desktop wallets. Software such as Bitcoin Core allows why not try this out you to send and save bitcoin addresses and also connects to the network to track transactions.
Online wallets. Bitcoin keys are saved online by exchange platforms such as Coinbase or Circle and can be accessed from anywhere.
Mobile wallets. Apps like Blockchain shop and encrypt your bitcoin keys so you can make payments using your mobile device.
Paper wallets. Some sites offer paper wallet services, generating a piece of paper using two QR codes on it. One code is your public address at which you get bitcoin and the other is the private address you can use for spending.