Guest post by Marco Streng from Genesis Mining
Marco is the Co-Founder of Genesis Mining.
If you solved a really complicated math problem all by yourself, you’d obviously want credit for it.
This is the central idea behind “proof of work,” the consensus mechanism that powers Bitcoin and a number of other assorted cryptocurrencies. Crypto miners around the world run computer systems that process transactions on these decentralized networks, performing complicated cryptographic math in pursuit of a so-called “blockhash” to do so.
If you’re already feeling lost, don’t worry — this is technical stuff, and you’re not alone if it’s going over your head. That’s why we’re going to explain what you need to know about proof of work.
Let’s start with where it came from and what it’s all about, then we’ll get into how it works.
Proof of work traces its roots to the early internet, and it blended with digital money concepts in 1999.
Though it was initially called “pricing via processing,” this idea was first dreamed up by computer scientists Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor in 1993. They described a system for preventing denial of service attacks and email spam on the newly modern internet. Their idea was later dubbed “proof of work” (or “PoW”) in a paper by security researchers Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels.
Proof of work hinges on using computers to find answers to problems that are extremely difficult to solve, but easy to confirm a correct answer. This predictably remained a highly niche topic for academics, but a computer scientist named Hal Finney smelled potential. He gets credit for bringing proof of work to digital money in 1999 — it was called the reusable proof of work token,