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For example, the SHA-256 of the word BUTTERFLY (origin ) 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 previously. In reality, the cube would contain a listing of recent, unverified transactions, but lets keep it simple. In order for the block to be solved, bitcoin utilizes a simple test: If the HASH result of the block begins with a certain number of zeros, then the cube is considered confirmed.
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For instance, lets say that we have a mining problem of just two, ie, our HASH should start with two zeros. .
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The problem: BUTTERFLY will return the exact same HASH, and it doesnt begin with two zeros. Thus what we need is your third factor, 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 little number changes the entire HASH outcome, there is no way to predict the number well need to solve this! .
We repeat this procedure 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 your solution to the block. Here are some tries:
This arduous process of randomly trying to find a number that gives the solution is what makes bitcoin mining such a computationally expensive procedure, and as more miners join the network, the tougher it gets. As of November 2017, a regular home computer working alone, ie, not an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and not a part of a cloud mining network, could require 2.7 million years to mine one block. .
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CPU mining. In the first days of bitcoin, mining difficulty was low and not a great deal of miners were competing for blocks 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 using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These greatly outperformed GPUs and CPUs in the mining process as FPGAs are chips that can be programmed to perform certain 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 processors designed for a specific function, in our situation mining bitcoin, and nothing else. ASICs for bitcoin were introduced in 2013 and, as of November 2017, they're the best processors available for mining bitcoin and they outperform FPGAs in power consumption. .
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Mining pools. To cancel the problem of mining a block, miners started organising in pools or cloud mining networks. Whenever a miner in one of these pools simplifies Web Site a cube, the payoff is shared with everyone in the swimming pool in a ratio representative of how much work you put into the swimming pool (even though you personally never solved the puzzle). .
Cloud mining. Clouds offer prospective miners the ability to purchase mining channels in a remote data centre location. There are many obvious advantages, the most obvious being: no energy costs, no excess heat and nothing to sell when you decide to hang your virtual pickaxe.
Once miners receive bitcoin, they are given a digital key to the bitcoin addresses. You can use this electronic key to access and confirm or approve transactions.
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Desktop pockets. Software such as Bitcoin Core lets you send and save bitcoin addresses and connects to the network to monitor transactions.
Online wallets. Bitcoin keys are stored online by exchange programs like Coinbase or Circle and can be retrieved from anywhere.
Mobile wallets. Apps like Blockchain store and encrypt your own bitcoin keys so you can make payments using your mobile device.
Paper wallets. Some sites provide paper wallet services, generating a bit of paper using just two QR codes on it. One code is your public address at which you receive bitcoin and the other is your private address you can use for spending.