Blake 256 review
Blake 256 is a hashing function that is a part of the Blake family of algorithms, uses 32-bit words and produces digest sizes of 256 bits. Blake 256 is a part of the first version of the Blake algorithm. In the Blake 2 family of algorithms, a successor of Blake 256, BLAKE2s is used.
As all of the blake-based algorithms, Blake 256 is based on and uses ChaCha stream cipher developed by Dan Bernstein. However, Blake 256 provides some additional features, like adding a rearranged copy of the input block, XORed with several round constants before each round of the ChaCha cipher.
As a part of the broader Blake family, Blake 256 is a SHA-3 competition finalist, popular and broadly implemented hashing function. However, it lost a part of the audience with the introduction of the Blake2 family of algorithms. Blake 256 is based on the HAIFA construction principle.
Initially, Blake 256 used 10 rounds while operating. However, during the NIST hash function competition, developers made some changes to improve security. The number of rounds was increased from 10 to 14 for Blake 256 and from 14 to 16 for Blake 512. It made it a little slower, but much secure and allowed it to remain very fast. Blake 256 has very strong performance ratings on x86-64 microchip architecture, making it significantly faster than SHA-3 hashing function.
Blake 256 mining
Blake 256 hasn’t manage to become widely used in the cryptocurrency industry. The only prominent coin using Blake 256 is the Decred cryptocurrency. Decred is a popular cryptocurrency that is concentrated on open governance, decentralization and integrity of the network’s participants.
Solo mining of DCR is discouraged by the developers. The Decred network is often to gain a hash rate of up to 10,000Gh/s. Solo mining of the coin with such hash rate can only be performed by the individuals with very powerful gear or organized groups with a many combined GPUs. Solo mining with the average gear can’t be profitable within the Decred network.
Decred developers support pool mining approach and a lot of mining pools offer DCR mining. On the Decred official website the following mining pools are mentioned as supportive of the Decred cryptocurrency:
To start DCR mining one should first ensure that his GPUs have all the latest updates. Then, it would be best to download the official Decred miner - Gominer. However, there are also third party miners for the Decred cryptocurrency - cgminer, ccminer and sgminer, that are also pretty efficient and are not dissuaded to use by the developers of the coin.
Coinbase maturity of DCR is 256 blocks, meaning that mined coins can be spend only after 256 new blocks are validated following the origin of the coins.
The company called Obelisk, established by the members of the Siacoin team, developed a DCR1 miner - ASIC miner designed especially to provide users with mining of the Decred coin.