Home Cryptocurrency Proof Of Work: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

Proof Of Work: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

by Tracy Finke

Proof of Work involves a system in which a significant effort is invested into preventing malicious uses of computing power, including sending spam emails. This idea was adapted to securing digital money via the concept of reusable proof of work by adopting the SHA-256 hashing algorithm.

Since its inception, Bitcoin became the first adopted application of Finney’s Proof-of-Work idea. The concept of Proof of Work represents the foundation through which many cryptocurrencies can achieve trust, decentralization, and a consensus mechanism.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies with transactions that are stored in a public distributed ledger, known as a blockchain. The records of all transactions are arranged sequentially in blocks to ensure that no user will be able to spend their assets twice.

Users detect tampering through hashes, which consist of long strings of numbers, which represent the proof of work. For instance, if you input a set of data through a hash function, this will generate just one hash. A minor alteration in any part of the original data will result in a completely unrecognizable hash (owing to the avalanche effect).

Regardless of the size of the initial data set, the resulting hash generated by a given function will have the same length. Furthermore, the hash is simply a one-way function. This implies that the hash can only be used to check that the data through which the hash is generated matches the initial data.

During mining, a user will generate an acceptable Proof of Work every ten minutes, on average. However, no one knows who this can be for certain. This makes mining more of a lottery. The chances of mining blocks are enhanced when miners pool together their resources. This also ensures a reward for newly-created Bitcoins.

What Proof of Work does is that it essentially makes it very difficult to tamper with any component of the blockchain. This is because any alteration will lead to the re-mining of subsequent blocks. This also ensures that it becomes difficult for users to monopolize the computing power of the network.

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The importance of Proof of Work in Cryptocurrencies

Source: worldfinancialreview.com

To ensure trust among users, blockchain requires a certain way to achieve security and consensus since, by design, they are peer-to-peer and decentralized. A specific method that can make it rather difficult to try to overtake the network is the Proof of Work. Proof of Stake and Proof of Burn represent other less resource-intensive mechanisms, with drawbacks. Yet, without the proof mechanism, transaction data will be susceptible to attacks and theft.

How Crypto Transactions can be validated by Proof of Work

The proof of work itself is random. For Bitcoin, there are iterations of the SHA-256 hashing algorithm. Anyone who emerges as the winner of a hashing round is granted access to record transactions. The randomness of the winner incentivizes everyone in the network to record only the right transactions.

What is the Difference Between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake?

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Proof of Stake involves a consensus mechanism in which the node, which will validate block transactions based on the number of coins the node holds, is randomly assigned. A wallet with a higher amount of tokens will result in more mining power, which is awarded to it.  There are several flaws associated with the Proof of Stake even though the proof mechanism is less resource-intensive. The Proof of Stake mechanism is associated with a higher chance of a 51% attack.

Are There Disadvantages?

Source: cointelegraph.com

Yes, there are. As with all things in life, not everything is perfect. For example, the proof of work when it comes to Bitcoin is that it requires a lot of energy, which mostly is consumed in the mining process. Those who excel in this field often talk about the carbon footprint that BTC mining leaves.

Altered Carbon was a good show with Anthony Mackie and Joel Kinnaman, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the carbon footprint that the miners leave behind, that grows each day, and it’s currently of the size of California. While we’re talking about The Golden State, we need to say that Tesla no longer accepts payments in Bitcoin.

The reason is simple – Elon Musk claims that mining is not good for our environment. Someone should talk to Rio Tinto, right now!

At the same time, BTC remains a highly valuable asset, and people are still obsessing over it. The number of both miners and investors is growing. Despite all the controversies its popularity is not veining, and it seems it will not any time soon. Those who advocate for BTC often claim that the sources that talk about the harm mining are causing are not backed up by facts.

They often want to point out that there are downsides to the regular manners of payments and investments and that no one is prepared to talk about it in length. In mining defense, people claim that the energy that is used for mining will otherwise be wasted as no one would have been using it. Others add that what they do is making people turn to more renewable sources of energy.

Our well-being is not the only thing in danger. There’s also a gaming community that complains about the most recent spike in the price of graphic cards. GPU value is on the rise, and this is the trend that won’t stop. Not only that they’re expensive, but also there’s a shortage.

The issues became even worse when Ethereum became popular, as it requires a lot of power to mine it. The adverse effects of this are already seen as graphic cards manufacturers are making the products less powerful so that crypto-miners wouldn’t be attracted to them. All in all proof of work will continue to require a lot of energy, and the culture that goes with BTC won’t change anytime soon.

Source: stormgain.com


As the crypto market grows, cybercriminals hope to exploit any form of weakness. However, with the Proof of Work, trust can be encouraged, while security and consensus can be achieved. These are viable goals, that need to be guaranteed by the crypt community.

Many new investors will attract even more people and money to BTC, which also means there will be those who will try to take advantage of the situation. The same way the number of miners grows, the value of BTC jumps, so the security measures surrounding it could also be better. Everyone should take their eyes to form the profit, even if it is for a little bit, and focus on what’s important – safety and security.  .