Bitcoin mining is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions or blockchain. This ledger of past transactions is called the blockchain as it is a chain of blocks. The blockchain serves to confirm transactions to the rest of the network as having taken place.
What is Bitcoin Mining?
Bitcoin Mining is a peer-to-peer computer process used to secure and verify bitcoin transactions—payments from one user to another on a decentralized network.
Mining involves adding bitcoin transaction data to Bitcoin’s global public ledger of past transactions. Each group of transactions is called a block. Blocks are secured by Bitcoin miners and build on top of each other forming a chain. This ledger of past transactions is called the blockchain.
The blockchain serves to confirm transactions to the rest of the network as having taken place. Bitcoin nodes use the blockchain to distinguish legitimate Bitcoin transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere.
What is Proof-of-Work?
Bitcoin Mining is intentionally designed to be resource-intensive and difficult so that the number of blocks found each day by miners remains steady over time, producing a controlled finite monetary supply. Individual blocks must contain a proof-of-work to be considered valid. This proof-of-work (PoW) is verified by other Bitcoin nodes each time they receive a block. Bitcoin uses a PoW function to protect against double-spending, which also makes Bitcoin’s ledger immutable.
How Does Mining Create New Bitcoins?
The primary purpose of mining is to allow Bitcoin nodes to reach a secure, tamper-resistant consensus. Mining is also the mechanism used to introduce bitcoins into the system. Miners are paid transaction fees as well as a subsidy of newly created coins, called block rewards. This both serves the purpose of disseminating new coins in a decentralized manner as well as motivating people to provide security for the system through mining.
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