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Mining Pools Explained

Mining is integral to the security of Proof of Work blockchains. By computing hashes with certain properties, participants are able to secure cryptocurrency networks without the need for a central authority. When Bitcoin first launched in 2009, anyone with a regular PC could compete with other miners to guess a valid hash for the next block. That’s because the mining difficulty was low. There wasn’t much hash rate on […]

Instructor Gergő Várhegyi
Updated March 23, 2022

About Course

Mining is integral to the security of Proof of Work blockchains. By computing hashes with certain properties, participants are able to secure cryptocurrency networks without the need for a central authority.
When Bitcoin first launched in 2009, anyone with a regular PC could compete with other miners to guess a valid hash for the next block. That’s because the mining difficulty was low. There wasn’t much hash rate on the network. As such, you didn’t need specialized hardware to add new blocks to the blockchain.

It stands to reason that the computers that could compute the most hashes per second would find more blocks. And this caused a major shift in the ecosystem. Miners engaged in something of an arms race as they scrambled to gain a competitive edge.

After iterating through different kinds of hardware (CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs), Bitcoin miners settled on ASICs – Application-Specific Integrated Circuits. These mining devices won’t allow you to browse Binance Academy or to tweet out pictures of cats.

As the name suggests, ASICs are built to perform a single task:  compute hashes. But since they’re designed specifically for this purpose, they do it incredibly well. So well, in fact, that using other types of hardware for Bitcoin mining has become quite uncommon.

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Course Content

Mining Pools Explained
Mining is integral to the security of Proof of Work blockchains. By computing hashes with certain properties, participants are able to secure cryptocurrency networks without the need for a central authority. When Bitcoin first launched in 2009, anyone with a regular PC could compete with other miners to guess a valid hash for the next block. That’s because the mining difficulty was low. There wasn’t much hash rate on the network. As such, you didn’t need specialized hardware to add new blocks to the blockchain. It stands to reason that the computers that could compute the most hashes per second would find more blocks. And this caused a major shift in the ecosystem. Miners engaged in something of an arms race as they scrambled to gain a competitive edge. After iterating through different kinds of hardware (CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs), Bitcoin miners settled on ASICs – Application-Specific Integrated Circuits. These mining devices won’t allow you to browse Binance Academy or to tweet out pictures of cats. As the name suggests, ASICs are built to perform a single task: compute hashes. But since they’re designed specifically for this purpose, they do it incredibly well. So well, in fact, that using other types of hardware for Bitcoin mining has become quite uncommon.

  • What is a mining pool?
  • How do mining pools work?
  • Pay-Per-Share (PPS) mining pools
  • Pay-Per-Last-N-Shares (PPLNS) mining pools
  • Are mining pools a threat to decentralization?
  • Closing thoughts

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