Hash functions are part of the block hashing algorithm which is used to write new transactions into the blockchain through the mining process. Have you ever wondered, how are new bitcoins created and added to the ones already in circulation? 

  • Bitcoin Mining is a computer process used to secure and verify bitcoin transactions on a decentralized network.
  • It is the process by which newly created Bitcoins are brought into circulation, the total of which is to be capped at 21 million BTC.
  • Bitcoin Miners are said to “secure” the Bitcoin network.
  • The newly created bitcoins released with each mined block is called the block reward.
  • Miners are paid for securing and verifying the network in form of block rewards.
  • Hash functions are part of the block hashing algorithm which is used to write new transactions into the blockchain through the mining process. Have you ever wondered, how are new bitcoins created and added to the ones already in circulation? The answer is that it gets “mined” into existence.How it actually works is something difficult for most of the people to understand. Unlike traditional currency which is created through central banks of the countries, bitcoins are “mined” by Bitcoin miners. This is a complex as well as critical parts of the Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin transactions, that is, payments from one user to another on a decentralized network are secured and verified through a peer-to-peer computer process, called Bitcoin Mining. It requires a computer and a special program. Miners will use this program and a lot of computer resources to compete with other miners in solving complicated mathematical problems. About every ten minutes, they will try to solve a block that has the latest transaction data in it, using cryptographic hash functions.

In mining, a bitcoin transaction data is added to Bitcoin’s global public ledger of past transactions. Each group of transactions is called a block which is verified and secured by Bitcoin miners. This block builds on top of each other forming a chain. This ledger of past transactions is called the blockchain. Miners are paid transaction fees as well as a subsidy of newly created coins, called block rewards. This helps in disseminating new coins in a decentralized manner as well as motivating people to provide security for the system through mining.

Avoiding the technical details, finding a block somewhat look like a type of network lottery. A miner has to spend a tiny amount of energy for each attempt to try and find a new block, which is basically a random guess for a lucky number. It is just once about every ten minutes that a miner somewhere succeeds and thus adds a new block to the blockchain. So anytime a miner finds a valid block, it means it must have statistically burned much more energy for all the failed attempts. Bitcoin’s success largely depends on this “proof of work”.

Bitcoin Miners

Bitcoin miners are the network of participants that perform extra tasks. Their task is to chronologically order transactions by including them in the Bitcoin blocks they find. As a result of this, users are prevented from spending the same bitcoin twice and thus it solves the “double spend” problem. Since there is no central authority to regulate bitcoin, then how is it possible to find out that the transactions are accurate? If person A has sent 1 bitcoin to person B, then how can we stop person A from also sending that bitcoin to person C? The answer is mining.

It is miners who “secure” the Bitcoin network. It is because the proof of work secures Bitcoin’s history. For instance, if an attacker tries to change a transaction that happened in the past, he would have to redo all of the work that has been done in order to create the longest chain, which is practically impossible.

It is Bitcoin mining through which new Bitcoin is brought into circulation. As a reward for miner’s efforts and securing the network, each new block includes a special transaction which awards the miner with new bitcoins. This is how the first bitcoin comes into circulation. Block reward is the amount of new bitcoin released with each mined block. This block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks or roughly every four years. In 2009, the block reward started at 50 bitcoin. This retreating block reward will result in a total release of bitcoins that approaches 21 million. According to current Bitcoin protocol, 21 million is the cap and no more will be mined after that number has been attained. Currently, each block includes 12.5 new bitcoins. Additionally, miners get to keep any mining fees that were attached to the transactions they included in their blocks.

Bitcoin Mining

Pools Bitcoin Mining Pools is a mining approach where groups of individual miners contribute to the generation of a block, and then split the block reward according to the contributed processing power.

Hash Functions

A mathematical process that takes input data of any size, performs an operation on it and returns output data of a fixed size is called a Hash function.In the bitcoin mining process, hash functions represent the part of the block hashing algorithm which is used to write new transactions into the blockchain. The process of bitcoin mining uses cryptography, with a hash function called double SHA-256. A hash takes an amount of data as input which is contracted into a smaller hash value, which is here 256 bits. The speed at which a computer is completing an operation in the Bitcoin code is called the hash rate.

Initially, bitcoin miners were just cryptography enthusiasts. But to try and earn these coins, anyone can become a Bitcoin miner. As the value of bitcoin has escalated, mining is being seen as a potential business by investing in warehouses and hardware to mine as many bitcoin as possible. However, over the years Bitcoin mining has become increasingly specialized and is now mostly done by dedicated professionals with specialized hardware, cheap electricity, and often big data centers.

If you also want to become a miner, remember you must be willing to invest considerable resources and time, in addition to access to cheap electricity. I think, however, it would be much simpler to buy some bitcoin and store it safely, as its price escalates.

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