Making Some Hash
What are the mathematics behind mining, and how do they affect the mining process overall? Coin Pursuit will fill you in on the mysteries of “hash.”
There's a fine balance to maintain when it comes to hash's complexity, and some digital currencies have been tweaking their formulas in order to strike this balance more fairly. If the hash is too simple, security is compromised, as we discussed in the last paragraph. Transaction validity is crucial, so the hash must be intricate enough to assure it. On the other side of the coin (no pun intended), if the hash is too complex, the data blocks become difficult to mine effectively. Check out any alternative currency forum, and you'll find miners discussing the difficulty of a given currency's hash. If it's too difficult, miners aren't gonna bother, and that can be disastrous to the currency's well-being.
The “hash rate” of a digital currency network is the speed at which transaction data can be processed by its miners. Again, balance is needed: you want it to be fast enough that transactions have good turnaround times, yet you don't want it to be so fast that security is weakened. Volume plays a role, too; Bitcoin, for example, has a hash rate of over 10 Th/s (Terrahash per second), which means ten trillion calculations per second could conceivably be made. That's a lot of hash.
Next Mining Topic: Proof of Work and Proof of Stake Mining