Mining

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Mining is a transaction record process with bitcoins to blockchain – the public database of all the operations with Bitcoin, which is responsible for the transaction confirmation. Network nodes use blockchain to differ the real transactions from the attempt to spend the same facilities twice. The main mining objective is reaching a consensus between network nodes on which transactions consider legitimate.

Category: Mining‎

What's Bitcoin mining?[edit]

Bitcoin mining is the process of issuing bitcoin, built on the calculation of mathematical problems, is the only way to create a cryptocurrency.

The essence of mining is that in different parts of the Earth, there are computers that solve mathematical tasks, the result of which is the creation of bitcoin. The release (production) process is distributed to all participants in the system, which ensures security and is not controlled by a single issuing center.

All Bitcoin transfers are recorded in the public transaction log, they are transmitted to the miners in a chain. The job of which is to pick up one single hash from a million combinations, which would be suitable for all new transactions and a secret key, which is a guarantee of receiving a reward of 25 Bitcoins. At the same time, many “getters” are competing for the award, who are the first to try to figure out the hash. When it is guessed, the block and all transactions are closed and the miners start generating the next block.

An example hash with the same phrases but with different additional parameters (in the example, the last line has the lowest hash value):

Hash

The target level of difficulty in the Bitcoin system is recalculated every 2016 blocks (approximately 2 times a week). It can increase or decrease, it all depends on the time of creation of new batches of the block and how much it differs from 2016 minutes (20160 * 10). Regardless of the total power of all miners, 1 block is generated on average within 10 minutes.

The miner's probability of receiving a reward during these 10 minutes is equal to the ratio of his computing power to the computing power of the entire network. And if this ratio is small, then the probability of receiving an award, even over a long period of time, will be low.

Transaction record process[edit]

Bitcoin mining process for dummies

Besides this, mining is the only way of bitcoins emission that are allocated as a miner reward for the mathematical task solution with the help of computer equipment. The process is advisedly done resource-intensive and difficult to leave permanent the number of blocks found by miners.

Every block should contain the confirmation that the mathematical task has been solved and each of the network nods can easily check, if the block has been really closed by the rules. Emission is decentralized as a mining reward that means a control absence over the output by a single center. During this process miners confirm accomplishing transactions in the network. In order to protect the network from overruns, mining is possible in strictly defined capacities.

Bitcoins, issued with the help of mining are the best way to hold the transaction anonymity during the work with cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, they can be used only after getting 100 network confirmations.

Mining definition[edit]

All the transfers in the Bitcoin system are public. Miners’ work consists in choosing the right hash, which will be convenient to all the network transactions and will provide getting of the private key. There are millions of possible combinations and that's why the process usually takes time and demands powerful equipment.

Unknown hash is the quantity that consists of the previous block hash, a random number and transactions check value sum, made during 10 minutes. System conditions can satisfy the only one quantity, which isn't permanent and changes after each block is closed.

As soon as the right hash is defined the transaction block closes and the miner obtains reward in the amount of 12.5 bitcoins. This process can be compared with lottery, because a lot of participants are simultaneously searching the hash. The system works pursuant to the strict rules and according to them changing of closed block is practically impossible.

Difficulty[edit]

Mining difficulty is a dynamic indicator that is periodically recalculated. With an increase in the processing power of mining equipment, complexity grows. It is best to look for up-to-date information on the state of difficulty in mining cryptocurrency on official currency sites. However, this is difficult. Links to mining statistics, even on official websites, are sometimes difficult to find. To simplify the process, aggregator sites of statistical information about all cryptocurrencies have been created. They collect, process and publish relevant data not only about the complexity of mining, but also several dozen indicators: price, capitalization, hashrate, profitability, transaction amount, and so on.

Mining in pools[edit]

Main page: Pooled mining‎

Bitcoin mining is a very difficult process and it's necessary to have essential capacities for processing. It has become practically impossible to follow mining alone, because of permanent increasing mining difficulty and crypto-currency market development. As a result, the concept “pool mining” has appeared, which means the computational capacities banding of several participants in a group for the new block generation. The pool obtained reward for the closed block is shared between its participants.

Mining Equipment[edit]

For the long time mining has been available for home computers users, but in 2013 competition between miners for finding the right hash has increased, therefore personal mining has lost it's economic justifiability. During the development and modernization process the next computer equipment types have been used for mining:

  • CPU-mining is a one of the oldest versions working with the help of the computer processor. This option can be found in the main bitcoin client, but it's off-stream now because of the extra low effectiveness;
  • GPU-mining lies in using graphic card. This type of mining has changed the processors. It's hallmark is the increasing of system power;
  • FPGA-mining is an upgrade variant of GPU mining, which differs by lower energy consumption;
  • ASIC is a mining with a special equipment created specially for work with crypto-currency. Its effectiveness far exceeds the attributes of usual graphic cards, so it has inaugurated a new era in Bitcoin development.

Potential investors in mining can use online mining calculators to know the effectiveness and profitability of mining equipment like mining farms.

Mining farm[edit]

Main page: Mining farm

Mining farm – is a data center, technically equipped to mine bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.

They were emerged as a result of the constant complication of the mining process, which requires more technical, energy and financial resources.


Mining farms allow the productivity of computers and, consequently, the Hash Rate to be maximized. The productivity of the largest farms can be several dozen PH/s (1015 hashes/second).

Physically, mining farms are rooms with a large number of computers and servers that take on tasks for mining.

There are also home-mining farms. They differ from ordinary PCs, by being specially assempled and designed for mining. Home farms can bring profitability, but users often face the problem of excessive electricity consumption and overheating of the computer at home which makes mining unprofitable.

One of the main resources into which a miner has to invest is electricity. It is also a risk factor, since the mining farm requires a permanent 24/7 power source. In addition, a large number of processors require an appropriate cooling and ventilation system.

Cloud mining[edit]

Main page: Cloud mining

Cloud mining is a process of obtaining Bitcoins with the use of a remote data processing center with the general computational power. This allows the users to mine Bitcoins or alternative crypto currencies without controlling the equipment directly. Most of all, the services of the cloud mining are used by the users from the countries with an expensive electric power supply, which doesn’t allow them to create mining rigs by their own.

Another option is a private virtual service, where a user installs the mining software.

Finally, a user may take the computational powers themselves by using already the results of their work and not coming in touch with physical or virtual servers.

Web mining[edit]

Main page: Web mining

Web-mining, or "hidden mining" – is an alternative method of cryptocurrency mining through the web browsers of users of websites. In fact, owners of Internet resources can convert the capacities of visitors' computers into cryptocurrency.

Web minining is conducted by special web-miners - programs that can work when the user's browser is switched on or runs in the background. Technically, such a program can be started on the computer with a line of JavaScript code written on the page, or the code itself is embedded into the browser extension. There are also viruses that make computer capacities work for cryptocurrency mining.

Mining profit[edit]

Main page: Mining profit

Profitability of mining is the level of reward that a user of the blockchain network receives for mining (providing of his technical capacities for verifying transactions and solution of network tasks, resulting in a new data block on the network).

The profitability of mining depends on two related factors. The first one consists in the complexity of the process itself, on which the reward depends (the more difficult the process is, the smaller amounts of tasks can be made per technical resource unit and, consequently, the less reward you will receive). The second factor is the cost of bitcoin (or other crypto currency). That is, how much your reward is in terms of fiat currencies.

The average annual profitability of mining ranges from 120 to 200% per annum, and for some products in the period of "mining boom" from the end of 2016 showed even the best result. However, this indicator does not take into account additional investments: rental of premises, management of mining farms and energy costs. Adjusted for these factors in 2016, the profitability of mining amounted to about 10-50% per annum.

Mining Hardware[edit]

The mining ecosystem

Specifically for Bitcoin, the number of mining types has significantly decreased. If other cryptocurrencies can still be mined using video cards, processors, hard drives, etc., then the high complexity of Bitcoin makes all these methods not only inefficient, but even unprofitable.

CPU Mining[edit]

A central processing unit (or CPU) is an integrated circuit that is an essential part of the hardware of a personal computer or any other equipment. Currently, any modern, high-performance computer is equipped with a powerful central processor with a high frequency of operation and several cores. Accordingly, if a miner has a good personal computer, then he will not have to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment.

GPU Mining[edit]

Mining on a video card is the process of mining cryptocurrency using graphic processors (GPUs). To do this, user needs a powerful video card in his home computer or a specially assembled farm of several devices in one system. If miner is interested in why GPUs are used for this process, then the answer is very simple. The thing is that video cards are initially developed to process a large amount of data by performing the same operations, as is the case with video processing. The same picture is observed in cryptocurrency mining, because here the hashing process is just the same. See the main article: Why a GPU mines faster than a CPU.

FPGA Mining[edit]

FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array. The microcircuit is a semiconductor. Used in cases where the device is designed to perform logical operations, such as and, or, nand and others.

ASIC Mining[edit]

An application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, is just a chip designed solely for one type of work – decryption of a specific algorithm. For Bitcoin, this is SHA-256. Due to the lack of multitasking, devices show significantly more power than those that are suitable for all algorithms at once.

Mining Hardware Comparison[edit]

Hardware Power Adaptability Price Availability User Friendly
ASIC ✔️ - - ✔️ ✔️
GPU - ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
FPGA ✔️ ✔️ - ✔️ -

To describe the table above, ASIC uses a lot of electricity, has a high price and very user-friendly but the price is expensive and ASIC can't change the mining algorithm. Meanwhile, GPU is using a fairly low power compared to ASIC, can adapt to various algorithms, cheap compared to other options, easy to get, and easy to use. Finally, FPGA can change algorithm but not user-friendly, you'll need to be able to create a Verilog program. Also, FPGA was quite expensive and hard to get, but now you can find them easily and cheaply online. In terms of hashing speed, CPU < GPU < FPGA < ASIC.

History[edit]

Bitcoin's public ledger (the blockchain) was started on January 3rd, 2009 at 18:15 UTC presumably by Satoshi Nakamoto. The first block is known as the genesis block. The first transaction recorded in the first block was a single transaction paying the reward of 50 new bitcoins to its creator. Blockchain mining.

See Also on BitcoinWiki[edit]

Resources[edit]