How to get bitcoin without mining
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And there is no limit to how many guesses they get. Let's say I'm thinking of the number There is no "extra credit" for Friend B, even though B's answer was closer to the target answer of Now imagine that I pose the "guess what number I'm thinking of" question, but I'm not asking just three friends, and I'm not thinking of a number between 1 and Rather, I'm asking millions of would-be miners, and I'm thinking of a digit hexadecimal number. Now you see that it's going to be extremely hard to guess the right answer.
If B and C both answer simultaneously, then the system breaks down. In Bitcoin terms, simultaneous answers occur frequently, but at the end of the day, there can only be one winning answer. Typically, it is the miner who has done the most work or, in other words, the one that verifies the most transactions. The losing block then becomes an " orphan block. Miners who successfully solve the hash problem but haven't verified the most transactions are not rewarded with bitcoin.
Here is an example of such a number: fcccfd95e27ce9fac56e4dfee The number above has 64 digits. Easy enough to understand so far. As you probably noticed, that number consists not just of numbers, but also letters of the alphabet. Why is that? To understand what these letters are doing in the middle of numbers, let's unpack the word "hexadecimal. This, in turn, means that every digit of a multi-digit number has possibilities, zero through In computing, the decimal system is simplified to base 10, or zero through nine.
In a hexadecimal system, each digit has 16 possibilities. But our numeric system only offers 10 ways of representing numbers zero through nine. If you are mining Bitcoin, you do not need to calculate the total value of that digit number the hash.
I repeat: You do not need to calculate the total value of a hash. Remember that analogy, in which the number 19 was written on a piece of paper and put in a sealed envelope? In Bitcoin mining terms, that metaphorical undisclosed number in the envelope is called the target hash. What miners are doing with those huge computers and dozens of cooling fans is guessing at the target hash. Miners make these guesses by randomly generating as many " nonces " as possible, as quickly as possible.
A nonce is short for "number only used once," and the nonce is the key to generating these bit hexadecimal numbers I keep mentioning. In Bitcoin mining, a nonce is 32 bits in size—much smaller than the hash, which is bits. The first miner whose nonce generates a hash that is less than or equal to the target hash is awarded credit for completing that block and is awarded the spoils of 6.
In theory, you could achieve the same goal by rolling a sided die 64 times to arrive at random numbers, but why on Earth would you want to do that? The screenshot below, taken from the site Blockchain. You are looking at a summary of everything that happened when block No.
The nonce that generated the "winning" hash was The target hash is shown on top. The term "Relayed by AntPool" refers to the fact that this particular block was completed by AntPool, one of the more successful mining pools more about mining pools below. As you see here, their contribution to the Bitcoin community is that they confirmed 1, transactions for this block.
If you really want to see all 1, of those transactions for this block, go to this page and scroll down to the Transactions section. Source: Blockchain. All target hashes begin with a string of leading zeroes.
There is no minimum target, but there is a maximum target set by the Bitcoin Protocol. No target can be greater than this number: ffff The winning hash for a bitcoin miner is one that has at least the minimum number of leading zeroes defined by the mining difficulty. Here are some examples of randomized hashes and the criteria for whether they will lead to success for the miner: Note: These are made-up hashes.
Mining pools are comparable to Powerball clubs whose members buy lottery tickets en masse and agree to share any winnings. A disproportionately large number of blocks are mined by pools rather than by individual miners. In other words, it's literally just a numbers game.
You cannot guess the pattern or make a prediction based on previous target hashes. At today's difficulty levels, the odds of finding the winning value for a single hash is one in the tens of trillions. Not great odds if you're working on your own, even with a tremendously powerful mining rig. Not only do miners have to factor in the costs associated with expensive equipment necessary to stand a chance of solving a hash problem, but they must also consider the significant amount of electrical power mining rigs utilize in generating vast quantities of nonces in search of the solution.
All told, Bitcoin mining is largely unprofitable for most individual miners as of this writing. The site CryptoCompare offers a helpful calculator that allows you to plug in numbers such as your hash speed and electricity costs to estimate the costs and benefits.
The miner who discovers a solution to the puzzle first receives the mining rewards, and the probability that a participant will be the one to discover the solution is equal to the proportion of the total mining power on the network.
Participants with a small percentage of the mining power stand a very small chance of discovering the next block on their own. For instance, a mining card that one could purchase for a couple of thousand dollars would represent less than 0. With such a small chance at finding the next block, it could be a long time before that miner finds a block, and the difficulty going up makes things even worse.
The miner may never recoup their investment. The answer to this problem is mining pools. Mining pools are operated by third parties and coordinate groups of miners. By working together in a pool and sharing the payouts among all participants, miners can get a steady flow of bitcoin starting the day they activate their miners. Statistics on some of the mining pools can be seen on Blockchain.
A Pickaxe Strategy for Bitcoin Mining As mentioned above, the easiest way to acquire Bitcoin is to simply buy it on one of the many Bitcoin exchanges. Alternately, you can always leverage the "pickaxe strategy. To put it in modern terms, invest in the companies that manufacture those pickaxes. In a cryptocurrency context, the pickaxe equivalent would be a company that manufactures equipment used for Bitcoin mining. Downsides of Mining The risks of mining are often financial and regulatory.
As aforementioned, Bitcoin mining, and mining in general, is a financial risk because one could go through all the effort of purchasing hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of mining equipment only to have no return on their investment. That said, this risk can be mitigated by joining mining pools. If you are considering mining and live in an area where it is prohibited, you should reconsider.
It may also be a good idea to research your country's regulation and overall sentiment toward cryptocurrency before investing in mining equipment. One additional potential risk from the growth of Bitcoin mining and other PoW systems as well is the increasing energy usage required by the computer systems running the mining algorithms. Though microchip efficiency has increased dramatically for ASIC chips, the growth of the network itself is outpacing technological progress.
As a result, there are concerns about Bitcoin mining's environmental impact and carbon footprint. There are, however, efforts to mitigate this negative externality by seeking cleaner and green energy sources for mining operations such as geothermal or solar sources , as well as utilizing carbon offset credits.
Switching to less energy-intensive consensus mechanisms like proof-of-stake PoS , which Ethereum has transitioned to, is another strategy; however, PoS comes with its own set of drawbacks and inefficiencies, such as incentivizing hoarding instead of using coins and a risk of centralization of consensus control.
Mining is a metaphor for introducing new bitcoins into the system because it requires computational work just as mining for gold or silver requires physical effort. Of course, the tokens that miners find are virtual and exist only within the digital ledger of the Bitcoin blockchain. Because they are entirely digital records, there is a risk of copying, counterfeiting, or double-spending the same coin more than once.
Mining solves these problems by making it extremely expensive and resource-intensive to try to do one of these things or otherwise "hack" the network. Indeed, it is far more cost-effective to join the network as a miner than to try to undermine it.
How Does Mining Confirm Transactions? In addition to introducing new BTC into circulation, mining serves the crucial role of confirming and validating new transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. This is important because there is no central authority such as a bank, court, government, or anything else determining which transactions are valid and which are not.
Instead, the mining process achieves a decentralized consensus through proof of work PoW. In the early days of Bitcoin, anybody could simply run a mining program from their PC or laptop. But as the network got larger and more people became interested in mining, the mining algorithm became more difficult. This is because the code for Bitcoin targets finding a new block once every 10 minutes, on average.
If more miners are involved, the chances that somebody will solve the right hash quicker increases, and so the difficulty increases to restore that minute goal. Now imagine if thousands, or even millions more times that mining power joins the network. That's a lot of new machines consuming energy.
Is Bitcoin Mining Legal? The legality of Bitcoin mining depends entirely on your geographic location. The concept of Bitcoin can threaten the dominance of fiat currencies and government control over the financial markets. Other things to consider include how crypto is taxed and what you can buy with cryptocurrency.
Legal tender: You might call them cryptocurrencies, but they differ from traditional currencies in one important way: there's no requirement in most places that they be accepted as "legal tender. El Salvador in became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Meanwhile, China is developing its own digital currency  View all sources.
For now, in the U. Crypto taxes: Again, the term "currency" is a bit of a red herring when it comes to taxes in the U. Cryptocurrencies are taxed as property, rather than currency. That means that when you sell them, you'll pay tax on the capital gains, or the difference between the price of the purchase and sale.
And if you're given crypto as payment — or as a reward for an activity such as mining — you'll be taxed on the value at the time you received them. Frequently asked questions How does a blockchain work? Most cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology , a networking protocol through which computers can work together to keep a shared, tamper-proof record of transactions. The challenge in a blockchain network is in making sure that all participants can agree on the correct copy of the historical ledger.
Without a recognized way to validate transactions, it would be difficult for people to trust that their holdings are secure. There are several ways of reaching "consensus" on a blockchain network, but the two that are most widely used are known as "proof of work" and "proof of stake. Proof of work is one way of incentivizing users to help maintain an accurate historical record of who owns what on a blockchain network.
Bitcoin uses proof of work, which makes this method an important part of the crypto conversation. Blockchains rely on users to collate and submit blocks of recent transactions for inclusion in the ledger, and Bitcoin's protocol rewards them for doing so successfully. This process is known as mining. There is stiff competition for these rewards, so many users try to submit blocks, but only one can be selected for each new block of transactions.
To decide who gets the reward, Bitcoin requires users to solve a difficult puzzle, which uses a huge amount of energy and computing power. The completion of this puzzle is the "work" in proof of work. For lucky miners, the Bitcoin rewards are more than enough to offset the costs involved. But the huge upfront cost is also a way to discourage dishonest players.
If you win the right to create a block, it might not be worth the risk of tampering with the records and having your submission thrown out — forfeiting the reward. In this instance, spending the money on energy costs in an attempt to tamper with the historical record would have resulted in significant loss.
Ultimately, the goal of proof of work is to make it more rewarding to play by the rules than to try to break them. What is proof of stake? Proof of stake is another way of achieving consensus about the accuracy of the historical record of transactions on a blockchain. It eschews mining in favor of a process known as staking, in which people put some of their own cryptocurrency holdings at stake to vouch for the accuracy of their work in validating new transactions.
Some of the cryptocurrencies that use proof of stake include Cardano, Solana and Ethereum which is in the process of converting from proof of work. Proof of stake systems have some similarities to proof of work protocols, in that they rely on users to collect and submit new transactions. But they have a different way of incentivizing honest behavior among those who participate in that process. Essentially, people who propose new blocks of information to be added to the record must put some cryptocurrency at stake.
In many cases, your chances of landing a new block and the associated rewards go up as you put more at stake. People who submit inaccurate data can lose some of the money they've put at risk. How do you mine cryptocurrency? Mining cryptocurrency is generally only possible for a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
And before you get too far, it is worth noting that the barriers to entry can be high and the probability of success relatively low without major investment. While early Bitcoin users were able to mine the cryptocurrency using regular computers, the task has gotten more difficult as the network has grown.
Now, most miners use special computers whose sole job is to run the complex calculations involved in mining all day every day. And even one of these computers isn't going to guarantee you success. Many miners use entire warehouses full of mining equipment in their quest to collect rewards. This reduces the size of the reward you'd get for a successful block, but increases the chance that you could at least get some return on your investment. How do you pull your money out of crypto?
Just like with buying cryptocurrencies, there are several options for converting your crypto holdings into cash. While decentralized exchanges and peer-to-peer transactions may be right for some investors, many choose to use centralized services to offload their holdings. With a centralized exchange, the process is basically the reverse of buying.
But one advantage if you own crypto is that you probably already have everything set up. Move your cryptocurrency onto the exchange.
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