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For example, the SHA-256 of the term BUTTERFLY (source) is 8c62ace4f9ef8ccd08ca6fb992a8524bb7dbdc0530654bd254c9da07a660949a (HASH). This seemingly random string of letters and numbers contains three important properties:
Bitcoin mining involves three variables: the cube, 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 cube would 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 starts with a certain number of zeros, then the block is considered confirmed.
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For our example, lets say that we've a mining problem of simply two, ie, our HASH must start with two zeros. .
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The difficulty: BUTTERFLY will always return the same HASH, and it doesnt begin with two zeros. So what we need is the next factor, a random number (known as a NONCE). We carry this number, combine it with BUTTERFLY, and HASH again. If it doesnt begin with two zeros, we change the number and try again, and since changing one small number changes the whole HASH result, there is no method to predict the number well need to address this! .
We repeat this process 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 attempts:
This arduous procedure of randomly trying to find a number that supplies the solution is what makes bitcoin mining such a computationally expensive process, and as more miners join the network, the tougher it gets. As of November 2017, a normal home computer working alone, ie, not an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and not part of a cloud mining network, could take 2.7 million years into mine one block. .
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CPU mining. In the first days of bitcoin, mining issue was reduced and not a lot of miners were competing for blocks and rewards. This made it worthwhile to utilize your computers own central processing unit (CPU) to mine bitcoin. However, that approach was soon replaced by GPU mining.
FPGA mining. Next came mining with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These greatly outperformed GPUs and CPUs in the mining procedure as FPGAs are chips which can be programmed to perform specific instructions and only those instructions (instead of being repurposed for mining, like GPUs were).
ASIC mining. Similar to FPGAs, application-specific integrated circuits are processors designed for a particular function, in our case 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 electricity consumption. .
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Mining pools. To offset the difficulty of mining a block, miners started organising in cloud or pools mining networks. Whenever a miner in one of those pools solves a block, the payoff is shared with everyone in the pool in a ratio representative of just how much work you put into the swimming pool (even though you personally never solved the puzzle). .
Cloud mining. Clouds provide potential miners the ability to purchase mining channels in a remote data centre location. There are many obvious advantages, the most obvious beingno electricity costs, no excess heat and nothing to market when you opt to hang your virtual pickaxe.
Once miners receive bitcoin, they are given a virtual key to the bitcoin addresses. You can use this electronic key to gain access and validate or approve transactions.
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Desktop pockets. Software like Bitcoin Core lets you send and store bitcoin addresses and connects to the network to monitor transactions.
Online wallets. Bitcoin keys are stored online by exchange platforms like Coinbase or Circle and can be retrieved from anywhere.
Mobile wallets. Programs like Blockchain shop and encrypt your own bitcoin keys so that you can make payments using your mobile device.
Paper wallets. Some websites provide paper wallet solutions, generating a bit of paper using published here just two QR codes on it. One code is your public address where you receive bitcoin and the other is your personal address you can use for spending.