Bitcoin mining revisited

So I was just about to bring up a thoughtful point on the other thread about Bitcoin Mining and they closed the thread because it had wandered off topic. I think the topic is worth continuing albeit in a more appropriate category.

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Anyway, the question that I’ve never seen the media ask is: Exactly what are they computing?

OK. So you’ve calculated that 2+2=4 or something significantly harder. So what? Why is this worth money to someone?

Who has an interest in bot farms doing complex calculations? To what end?

As a former IT consultant, the first thing that comes to my mind is the decryption of passwords, encrypted files or encrypted communications links.

I refuse to participate in it because I have serious reservations of what the results are being used for. I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of where the data for the calculations is being derived from, who the results are being sent to, and what they intend to do with those results.

I have yet to see any member of the media do a deep dive into this, probably because the vast majority of them are not very technically inclined to begin with.

Computers deal with numbers, and numbers are just that: numbers; there’s nothing special about them. Encryption works by taking a valid set of numbers (password) and obfuscating them with other larger numbers (encryption keys) and a complex mathematical calculation which includes the password to produce an encrypted value that will be accepted at the other end as legitimate (because the other end can do the same set of calculations and arrive a the same answer).

If you don’t know ether the public or the private encryption key or the password, the only way to solve it is by brute force calculation, which sounds suspiciously like bitmining to me.


Came across this when I looked at it the other day. Sort of explains how1mb of data can take so much power.


Thanks for that. I’ve been reading through it (and took the test) and while it explains the blockchain concept I’m still deeply suspicious of it.

Encrypting a transaction record and creating a block chain from it is not hard, unless I’m missing something:

cat Transaction1.txt | gpg --encrypt > Block1.gpg Yields an encrypted file containing the transactions listed in Transaction1.txt
sha256sum Block1.gpg >> Transaction2.txt Yields the hash of the data from transaction record
#1 and adds it to transaction record #2
cat Transaction2.txt | gpg --encrypt > Block2.gpg Yields an encrypted file containing the transactions in Transaction2.txt plus the hash of Block1.gpg
sha256sum Block2.gpg >> Transaction3.txt Yields the hash of the data from transaction record
#2 and adds it to transaction record #3
cat Transaction3.txt | gpg --encrypt > Block3.gpg Yields an encrypted file containing the transactions in Transaction3.txt plus the hash of Block2.gpg

etc. etc. Unless I’m missing something that’s all that’s required for a block chain. If you change the data in any of the earlier transactions all the subsequent transaction hashes will be wrong.

So why all the computation?

I think they make it increasingly hard to do the calcs as the chain gets bigger and the time factor, you have to be early with your solution or not get paid and the calcs I read take ~15 minutes to solve if you take 15+1sec you lose. If I try and fit more of this info into my head I’ll forget a bread recipe or something.

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