What is bitcoin? – blockchain support center.

Ever wonder what those numbers mean? The relationship between difficulty, shares, hashrate, etc. explained.

After being confused for a long time myself, I went and crunched some figures, and found out where all those numbers came from. To save fellow shibes from having to do the same, I'm making this guide.
First of all, what is difficulty? It is a number d such that the expected number of hashes required to find a block is d * 232. That is to say, the individual probability of each hash finding a block is 1 / (d * 232 ). (You can read up on how a geometric distribution based on a Bernoulli random variable of probability p has a mean of 1/p.) So if the difficulty is 1, then a valid hash would require 32 binary zeros at the beginning (usually represented as 8 zeros in hex). If the difficulty is 1024, then 32 + 10 = 42 binary zeros are required. For a difficulty that's not a power of two, you're going to have an odd mix (e.g. the first digits of the hex must be less than 000000000c8.)
Now how is difficulty calculated? For Dogecoin, difficulty is recalibrated every 240 blocks. It is adjusted so that a block would be found every minute, on average. Example: The average hashrate was 100 GH/s over the last 240 blocks. We want a block found every 60 seconds, or every 1011 * 60 = 6 x 1012 hashes. So d = 6 x 1012 / 232 = 1397, and the difficulty will be set to 1397.
The pool difficulty (also known as share difficulty) is a closely related concept. It is up to the pool operator, but almost all define it as being difficulty * 216. That is, pool difficulty is a number d' such that the expected number of hashes required to find a share on the pool is d' * 216 (since 32 - 16 = 16). It is basically there for notational convenience, because no one wants to talk about mining at a difficulty of 0.000244 (translated to pool difficulty, that would be 16), just like how people use kilodoge or millibitcoin.
What about a share? Pool operators may vary, but usually a share is defined as a valid hash at pool difficulty 16. Pools may set a pool difficulty that everyone mines at, automatically adjust pool difficulty for each individual miner depending on their hashrate (called vardiff), or allow users to set their own difficulty. They might even create different strata with different pool difficulty levels. A share at a higher pool difficulty is harder to find but worth more. Basically, if you're currently mining at pool difficulty 16 and switch to 32, you'll mine shares half as often but every share you mine is worth two shares. (Unfortunately, the definition of "share" appears to be overloaded - it can mean either each thing a miner submits to a pool or its equivalent for a pool difficulty of 16. It's like how a "standard drink" is 0.6 oz alcohol - if you had a 24 oz beer at 5% ABV, you could say you had a drink, but technically you had two drinks in terms of alcohol content.)
A round is the period of time since the last block was found by a pool to the next time a block is found by the pool. Round shares are shares (i.e. equivalent shares for difficulty 16) that have been found by pool miners. Estimated shares is an estimate of how many shares it will take for a pool to find a block. This number is the same for each pool regardless of hashrate, and only depends on the current difficulty. It is equal to d * 212. Why? Note that a share at pool difficulty 16 is 16 times as difficult as a share at pool difficulty 1, and pool difficulty 1 is 216 times easier than difficulty 1, so the overall effect is 216 / 16. (PPS only: The baseline PPS rate is the amount a miner is paid for each share at difficulty 1; pools PPS rate is the amount a miner is paid for each share at difficulty 16. Pools PPS rate is calculated by dividing the block reward by the estimated shares. So for Dogecoin currently, you divide 500,000 by 5,645,699 to get pools PPS rate 0.088563.)
The Bitcoin wiki has a page on difficulty, but it's somewhat technical and doesn't really talk about mining pools, so I created this post because I couldn't find anything better on Google and ended up using a bit of math and common sense to figure these things out. Though I do recommend reading it for the technically inclined.
For other things like Prop, PPLNS, PPS, etc. there are many existing well-written resources, so I'm saving my breath. This page lists pretty much every single pool structure you might encounter. PPLNS (basic guide, advanced) is probably the most common but also somewhat difficult to understand.
submitted by tony_1337 to dogecoin [link] [comments]

Tezos Copycat Hurry up Tezos!!!

The Crypto industry is going to keep stealing Tezos ideas until they get it right. What if they are able to implement the new Velvet protocol? What if any company can implement this and no Crypto ever hard forks? All the things that make Tezos unique are being stolen. And we don't even have first mover advantage! Read this article and comment if this worries you
Velvet has always been a sign of nobility, but in the crypto space, it's now the name adorning a new and promising way for upgrading blockchain software.
At least that's the hype behind "velvet forks," a mechanism for upgrading cryptocurrency code that has some high-profile crypto enthusiasts intrigued.
"We think the most interesting part is the idea that you can introduce some new concepts to permissionless blockchains without necessarily having a majority of consensus participants agree to do so," said Imperial College London research assistant Alexei Zamyatin.
And that complex statement cuts to the core of why Zamyatin and others believe velvet forks might be beneficial.
In short, in the cryptocurrency space, there have long been two types of forks that people generally discuss - soft forks and hard forks.
While soft forks are seen as less disruptive in that they're backwards-compatible, they can still be controversial when used to initiate changes not all cryptocurrency users agree with. Further, hard forks are generally seen in a dubious light since they can split a blockchain in two if not all users decide to update to the new rules.
With velvet forks, however, some researchers think the cryptocurrency world can get around some of the disruptive politics that generally bog down major code changes.
First coined by computer scientists working on building proofs that can potentially be used to improve sidechains, a layer-two cryptocurrency technology for pushing transactions off-chain, a velvet fork allows developers to add new rules to a blockchain without full support from the entire ecosystem.
According to Zamyatin, "It's not rocket science. It's a pretty simple concept."
As such, Zamyatin and several other researchers co-authored a new paper that dives deeper into where the mechanism can be applied, which he presented during the Financial Crypto 2018 conference in Curacao at the beginning of the month.
The new paper states:
"The velvet fork [...] does not require support of a majority of participants and can potentially avoid rule disagreement forks from happening altogether."
In the wild Simply, a fork is a way to upgrade a cryptocurrency system to support important new rules, and throughout the history of multiple cryptocurrency protocols, forks have been used often.
From the hard fork that split ethereum into a competing cryptocurrency ethereum classic to less controversial forks like the one used to move bitcoin to a new signature scheme to the ever-growing number of forks designed to not only create new cryptocurrencies with new features, but also make entrepreneurs (or scammers) substantial amounts of money, forks have become a part of life in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
But these mechanisms come with a fair amount of controversy much of the time, which is partly why Zamyatin and other academics are so interested in the velvet fork approach.
In the December 2017 paper where velvet forks were first mentioned, the mechanism is described as one that allows for "gradual deployment" without harming the miners that haven't upgraded to the new rules. In this way, it acts similar to a soft fork in that clients that upgrade to new rules are still compatible with those that don't.
Further, the paper states that velvet forks require "no rule modifications to the consensus layer," what some see as advantageous since these are the rules everyone in the system needs to agree with, or everything will break.
While it hasn't become widely-used as a way of upgrading, velvet forks exist in the wild today in various forms (although researchers argue there wasn't an official name for the mechanism before this recent wave of research).
For example, the decentralized mining pool P2pool regularly uses a velvet fork of sorts.
Since there is no one entity (replacing that with code instead) that controls the payments dispersed to the miners of the pool for their work, the pool created a second blockchain with an easier difficulty that only miners part of the pool can contribute to. This blockchain is used to gauge how much computing power each miner is contributing, so the protocol can pay them out proportionally.
Even though the blocks generated by P2pool use these extra rules, miners that don't play by these same rules still accept P2pool's blocks.
As such, P2pool is an example of a "velvet fork" because the blocks (from both their proprietary blockchain and the bitcoin blockchain) live side-by-side in harmony, without causing a split.
Bias and bribery Still, velvet forks are a potential vulnerability.
Namely, the paper describes possible ways that velvet forks could be abused by bad actors for their own gain.
For instance, say a velvet is deployed. Zamyatin's paper describes a scenario where some miners, called "velvet miners," upgrade to new rules while others ignore the new rules. If the blocks that the velvet miners create are somehow more lucrative than regular blocks, the paper argues other miners could be "biased towards accepting upgraded over legacy blocks."
"This, in turn, can have an unclear impact on the security assumptions of such systems, as current attack models mostly do not assume a variable utility of blocks," the paper continues.
And Zamyatin himself described another attack vector, which involves "selfish mining."
Selfish mining is a process whereby miners hide the fact that they've found a block, keeping other miners searching for that block while they move on to searching for the next block. This gives them a head start of sorts in also winning the next block. And according to Zamyatin, velvet forks could enable new opportunities here.
He told CoinDesk:
"I can bribe people to work on my chain. There's no guarantee that I'll win, but it could potentially offer an incentive to deviate from the protocol rules."
Still, more research is needed, as Zamyatin admits he isn't sure how serious these problems are in practice.
Opening the door But both these vulnerabilities and the thought of the changes velvet forks might enable are reasons Zamyatin wants researchers to spend more time looking into velvet forks.
Although, Zamyatin acknowledges that velvet forks aren't a silver bullet.
"This doesn't work for something like Segregated Witness (SegWit) of course," he said, referring to a bitcoin code change that fueled a two-year debate in the community over the technical direction of the protocol.
That said, it's still potentially useful for other types of changes.
Zamyatin noted that he's looking into how it might be possible to use a velvet fork for bringing GHOST, the protocol that ethereum was originally modeled after, to bitcoin. Because it completely restructures the system to try to speed things up, it likely wouldn't get enough support for a soft or hard fork, and as such a velvet fork where some get to opt in while staying in consensus with those that don't could be the only way.
And velvet forks might also help breath new life into older proposed innovations.
Cornell associate professor Emin Gün Sirer, for instance, said he "very much" likes the idea of using a velvet fork for adding the long-stalled Bitcoin-NG (standing for "next-generation") protocol, an idea he pioneered which looks to improve throughput by rearranging the bitcoin blockchain, to the cryptocurrency.
"While [the paper is] short on the details, the overall idea of adding new functionality without incurring the risks and complication of either a soft or a hard fork is quite compelling," Sirer told CoinDesk.
And perhaps most far-fetched but interesting of all, Zamyatin believes an even bigger vision could be realized with velvet forks.
He told CoinDesk:
"You could even have multiple versions running in parallel, perhaps even compatible to each other, and all this without necessitating often controversial soft or hard forks."
submitted by TezosMaster to tezos [link] [comments]

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