Bitcoin, powered by Blockchain, is a decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Introduced to the market in 2008 by an individual or group under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin operates on a system independent of any central authority or government. Bitcoin enables secure and anonymous transactions, value storage, and swift money transfers.
Bitcoin has a finite supply limited to 21 million BTC. As demand increases, so does Bitcoin’s price. The Bitcoin network provides a secure environment by establishing a verification and consensus mechanism among participants. Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and complete anonymous use also allow users to maintain financial freedom and privacy.
Bitcoin mining is a process ensuring the operation of the Bitcoin network and the creation of new BTC. Mining involves solving mathematical problems using specialized devices, resulting in the addition of new blocks to the Blockchain, thus verifying and recording transactions. Bitcoin miners use high computational power mining devices to receive transaction data, organize this data into blocks, and verify them. This process, known as mining, requires solving a complex problem to create a valid block.
Miners calculate the block’s hash value by adding a value called “nonce” to the block header. The hash value is a string calculated using a specific formula and serves as a unique identity token for the block. The formula dictates that a block’s hash value should be less than a particular target value. Miners continuously calculate the block’s hash value by changing the nonce value, and upon finding the correct nonce value meeting the target, a block is discovered.
Once a block is discovered, it is verified by other miners in the network before being added to the Bitcoin Blockchain. The verification process involves miners checking the transaction history and confirming the block’s validity. Every new block added to the Bitcoin Blockchain adds a link to the complete transaction history, providing a reliable and immutable record on the Bitcoin network.
Bitcoin miners earn two types of rewards when they find a block. Firstly, the miner is granted new BTC or Bitcoins. This is known as the mining reward and determines the number of BTCs added to the system when a new block is formed. Secondly, the miner receives a portion of the transaction fees, known as transaction fees, paid by users. Users can pay an additional fee to have their transactions confirmed more quickly, and miners earn these fees as profit.
The Bitcoin network uses a consensus mechanism called Proof of Work (PoW). With this consensus mechanism, miners use specialized devices with high computational power to solve complex mathematical problems. When these problems are solved, a block is completed, and the miner is rewarded with new BTCs and transaction fees collected from users. Bitcoin mining is a highly competitive process. Miners use specialized mining devices to have high computational power and keep up with the increasing difficulty level of competition. These devices are called Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and are designed solely for Bitcoin mining.
Mining is a fundamental element that ensures the decentralized and secure operation of Bitcoin. Miners ensure the network’s security, validate transactions, and allow new Bitcoins to circulate. However, the mining process is increasingly requiring more energy over time and leading to environmental impacts. Therefore, energy efficiency and sustainability are significant points of discussion in the mining sector.
Proof of Work (PoW) is a consensus mechanism used to protect cryptocurrencies’ blockchains and create new blocks. PoW requires network participants to perform a specific transaction, providing proof of work or proof of effort, to verify and approve blocks. The PoW mechanism uses the difficulty of solving a mathematically complex problem. This problem usually involves finding the result of a cryptographic hash function (usually SHA-256) applied to a block header containing a value called “nonce”. The solution to this problem requires a random trial-and-error process, and miners perform complex calculations to find the correct “nonce” value.
The PoW mechanism shows that work that can be easily verified by other miners on the network has been performed to confirm the block’s validity. When a miner finds the correct “nonce” value, the miner announces the block to the network, and the block is verified by other miners. Verified blocks are added to the Blockchain, securing the transaction history.
One of the main features of PoW is its extreme resilience against attacks. For an attacker to change a block or reverse past transactions, they would need to recompute the entire existing Blockchain. This would require having a majority of the network, which is both costly and challenging.
Bitcoin is not only the most popular cryptocurrency using the PoW consensus mechanism but also the first to use it. Other cryptocurrencies can use the PoW mechanism, but some may prefer alternative consensus algorithms such as Proof of Stake (PoS) or Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS).
While PoW is a highly secure consensus mechanism, its intense energy consumption raises environmental concerns. Therefore, some projects are working on more energy-efficient solutions by shifting to alternative consensus mechanisms like PoS.
Originally, miners received a reward of 50 BTC for every block they found. However, due to the design of the Bitcoin network, a Halving event occurs every 210,000 blocks, which halves the block reward.
Bitcoin Halving, or Bitcoin Halvening, is an event that halves the BTC block reward that miners receive for each block they find. This event occurs according to Bitcoin’s pre-established supply schedule and aims to keep Bitcoin’s inflation under control.
Initially occurring every 210,000 blocks, Bitcoin Halving halves mining rewards after each event. Prior to the first Bitcoin Halving, miners received 50 BTC per block. With the first Bitcoin Halving, the block reward dropped from 50 BTC to 25 BTC. After the second Halving, it fell from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC. The process continued with the third Bitcoin Halving in 2020, reducing the block reward from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. The next Bitcoin Halving, which is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2024, will decrease the current block reward of 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC.
In summary, BTC mining is a vital process that maintains the security of the Bitcoin network and allows new BTCs to enter circulation. Mining is carried out using specialized mining devices with high computational power. Miners facilitate the operation of the Bitcoin network by extracting new blocks and verifying transactions. Mining rewards change with the value and demand of Bitcoin and decrease regularly with each Bitcoin Halving. Bitcoin, as a decentralized cryptocurrency, is an innovative financial instrument that allows for secure and anonymous transactions.