Hash Rate / Hash Power

Hash rate, also referred to as hash power, is a key indicator of the processing power of distributed ledger technology systems utilizing Proof-of-Work consensus mechanisms. The process of hashing involves taking a string of arbitrary data of any size and length, and running it through a function that produces an output, or ‘hash,’ of data of a fixed size; at a high level, this is done through cryptographic processes in which miners must produce numerous computations, or ‘guesses,’ in order to ‘discover’ a hash for a new block. Hash rate refers to the speed at which such computations are conducted, or the frequency at which ‘guesses’ are made. Higher hash rates are preferable to miners, as they increase chances of discovering new hashes/blocks and earning block rewards. Additionally, higher hash rates theoretically translate to greater security from a 51% attack, as they indicate a greater amount of computational power required to control over half the network. A network’s hash rate is closely related to its difficulty.