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For instance, 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 term BUTTERFLY discussed earlier. In reality, the block could contain a listing of recent, unverified transactions, but lets keep it simple. In order for the block to be solved, bitcoin uses a simple test: If the HASH consequence of the block begins with a certain number of zeros, the block is considered confirmed.
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For our example, lets say that we have a mining difficulty of just two, ie, our HASH must begin 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 your third variable, a random number (called a NONCE). We take this number, combine it with BUTTERFLY, and HASH again. If it doesnt start with two zeros, we change the number and try again, and since changing one small number changes the entire HASH outcome, there's absolutely no way to predict the number well need to solve this! .
We repeat this process over and over until we find a number that, when combined with BUTTERFLY, gives us a HASH that starts with two zeros. That number is the solution to the block. Here are some attempts:
This arduous process of randomly trying to find a number that supplies the solution is the thing that creates bitcoin mining such a computationally expensive procedure, and as more miners join the network, the harder it gets. As of 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, would require 2.7 million years to mine one block. .
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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 rewarding to use your computers own central processing unit (CPU) to mine bitcoin. However, that strategy was soon replaced by GPU mining.
FPGA mining. Next came mining with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These significantly outperformed GPUs and CPUs in the mining process as FPGAs are processors which can be programmed to execute specific 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 chips designed for a particular function, in our situation mining see this here 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 pools or cloud mining networks. Whenever a miner in one of these 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 swimming pool (even though you personally never solved the puzzle). .
Cloud mining. Clouds offer prospective miners the capability to buy mining channels in a remote data centre location. There are many obvious advantages, the most obvious being: no electricity expenses, no extra heat and nothing to sell when you decide 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 access and validate or approve transactions.
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Desktop wallets. Software like Bitcoin Core allows you to send and store bitcoin addresses and also connects to the network to track transactions.
Online wallets. Bitcoin keys are stored online by exchange platforms like Coinbase or Circle and can be accessed from anywhere.
Mobile wallets. Programs like Blockchain shop and encrypt your own bitcoin keys so that you can make payments using your cellular device.
Paper wallets. Some websites offer paper wallet services, generating a piece of paper with two QR codes on it. One code is the public address at which you receive bitcoin and the other is your private address you can use for spending.