"Mining and Validation" TAG

Genesis Block
  • glossary
The first block recorded on a blockchain is called a ‘genesis block.’ Genesis blocks, unlike other blocks, must be hardcoded into the software, since there are no previously broadcasted blocks for the genesis block to reference.
GPU
  • glossary
A graphics processor unit found in many modern consumer devices. GPUs became an important part of the cryptocurrency space due to their processing capabilities. While a CPU can perform highly complex calculations, GPUs are designed to handle less complex, but massively parallel calculations. This has made them quite effective at running the algorithms necessary for...
Hard Fork
  • glossary
A hard fork is a permanent split of a blockchain brought about by software changes in the consensus protocol that make previously invalid transactions now valid. Nodes running older versions will reject blocks from miners running newer versions because they contain transactions the older version considers invalid. Two competing blockchains emerge, and all users (nodes,...
Hashcash
  • glossary
Hashcash is the proof of work function at the heart of Bitcoin mining. It was initially developed in 1997 by Adam Back, a British cryptographer and researcher. He initially proposed hashcash as a tool to protect against denial of service attacks. Requiring the sender of an email, for example, to execute a bit of computation...
Kimoto’s Gravity Well
  • glossary
Kimoto’s Gravity Well (KGW) is a modification to Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment algorithm that was first developed for the altcoin ‘megacoin’ and has since been implemented in many other altcoins, both in its initial incarnation as well as in modified fashions. Whereas Bitcoin averages the last 2016 blocks to determine difficulty retargeting, KGW retargets difficulty at...
Mining Pool
  • glossary
Mining pools are a collection of miners that work cooperatively to solve a block. Once a block is found, the miners are paid out in proportion to the amount of work contributed. A common analogy for this is a room full of workers scratching-off lottery tickets. Once any one worker finds a winning ticket, the...
Orphan Block (Stale Block)
  • glossary
An orphan block, or detached block, is a valid block that is not part of a blockchain. This event occurs when two miners produce valid blocks a similar times. The miner whose block is produced later or that propagates slower ends up with the orphaned block. Other nodes in the network will discard this orphan...
Block Header
  • glossary
Block headers contain metadata that uniquely reference a particular block. Contained within the headers are seven fields, including: version, the previous block’s hash, the Merkle root (a hash of all of this block’s transactions), a block creation timestamp, the difficulty, the nonce, and the number of transactions contained within the block.
Block Template
  • glossary
Block templates are a framework developed by the Bitcoin community in 2012 to allow miners more control over the structure of the blocks they mine. Prior to block templates, miners were only able to request work from mining pools. This meant that malicious pool operators could keep miners in the dark with regards to block...
Difficulty
  • glossary
In Bitcoin, the difficult is parametrized by the number of leading 0’s at the beginning of an acceptable hash. Since hashes are a psuedorandom process, the likelihood of an output sitting in a certain range is roughly calculable statistically. This allows the difficulty to be increased by restricting the acceptable range of outputs to a...
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