Bitcoin Mining – A Phenomenon That Involves a Bit More Than Number Crunching

The charismatic cryptocurrency and the numerous thoughts that crop up in the minds of the onlookers often surround few obvious questions – how does it come into being and what about its circulation? The answer, however, is straightforward. Bitcoins have to be mined, in order to make the cryptocurrency exist in the Bitcoin market. The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a technique to exchange the valuable cryptocurrencies online, by doing away with the necessity for any centralized institution. For Bitcoins, there’s an alternative way to hold the necessary records of the transaction history of the entire circulation, and all this is managed via a decentralized manner.

The ledger that facilitates the process is known as the “blockchain”. The essence of this ledger might require tons of newsprint for appearing regularly at all popular Bitcoin news. Blockchain expands every minute, existing on the machines involved in the huge Bitcoin network. People may question the validity, even authenticity, of these transactions and their recordings into Blockchain. This too is however justified, through the process of Bitcoin mining. Mining enables creation of new Bitcoin and compiling transactions to the ledger. Mining essentially entails solving of complex mathematical calculations, and the miners employ immense computing power to solve it. The individual or ‘pool’ that solves the puzzle, places the subsequent block and wins a reward too. And, how mining can avoid double-spending? Almost every 10 minutes, outstanding transactions are mined into a block. So, any inconsistency or illegitimacy is completely ruled out.

For Bitcoins, mining is not spoken of in a traditional sense of the term. Bitcoins are mined by utilizing cryptography. A hash function termed as “double SHA-256” is employed. But how difficult is it to mine Bitcoins? This can be another query. This depends a lot on the effort and computing power being employed into mining. Another factor worth mentioning is the software protocol. For every 2016 blocks, difficulty entailed in mining of Bitcoins is adjusted by itself simply to maintain the protocol. In turn, the pace of block generation is kept consistent. A Bitcoin difficulty chart is a perfect measure to demonstrate the mining difficulty over time. The difficulty level adjusts itself to go up or down in a directly proportional manner, depending on the computational power, whether it’s being fuelled or taken off. As the number of miners rise, percentage of profits deserved by the participants diminish, everyone ends up with smaller slices of the profits.

Having individual economies and communities, cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin, Namecoin or Peercoin, are called Altcoins. These are alternatives to Bitcoin. Almost like Bitcoins, these ‘cousins’ do have a huge fan-following and aficionados who are keen to take a deep plunge into the huge ocean and begin to mine it. Algorithms utilized for Altcoin mining are either SHA-256 or Scrypt. Several other innovative algorithms exist too. Ease, affordability and simplicity can render it feasible to mine Altcoins on a PC or by employing special mining software. Altcoins are a bit ‘down to earth’ compared to Bitcoins, yet transforming them into big bucks is a little difficult. Cryptocurrency buffs can just hope, if some of them could witness the equivalent astronomical fame!



Published by Tamer Sameeh Sayed Mostafa

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