BREAKING NEWS! has been acquired by VC firm Morningstar Ventures. Read more

$0.00696 0%
RIC · 408w

Part 1 of the algorithms behind a fast Riecoin miner

Introduction In the wake of Bitcoin's success, many "alternative" cryptocurrencies, or "alt-coins" have emerged that change various aspects of the coin in an attempt to improve upon Bitcoin.  (We'll ignore the many that have emerged with the goal of simply duplicating it to put money in their creators' pockets).

I've been particularly interested in variants that change something with the "proof-of-work" function.  This sits at the heart of Bitcoin's decentralization:  If a node in the Bitcoin network wishes to be the one permitted to sign a block of transactions, and receive payment for doing so, it must prove that it did a certain amount of computational effort.  This mechanism spreads the authority for the transaction history over all of the participants in the protocol in rough proportion to their computational horsepower.  The goal of this mechanism is to ensure that no one entity can control the currency without spending an enormous amount of money to do so.

Bitcoin itself uses a very simple proof-of-work:  iterations of the SHA256 hash function.  Given a target t, find a nonce n for which  SHA256(nonce, transaction-data) < t.  As far as we know, the only way to find such a nonce is by brute force.

While there are many variants that use different hash functions, the ones that are more interesting have different objectives for their proof of work.  Two that seem particularly popular are:

ASIC or GPU-resistance:  Develop a proof-of-work function that targets the strong points of general purpose CPUs to prevent GPUs or ASICs from having a huge advantage. Extract some general social good from the proof-of-work. The rationale for the first is a philosophical question I don't want to get in to - I'm personally skeptical that there's too much value in it.  From an energy perspective, it's more efficient to have a bunch of ASICs spinning than it is to have loads of general-purpose CPUs spinning, and non-experts underestimate the de...
Continue on
Recent News
No posts found