Proof of work (PoW) is the original type of consensus algorithm in a blockchain network. It was first developed in 1993 as a way to prevent denial of service attacks and others on a network. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that Satoshi Nakamoto implemented PoW on Bitcoin as an innovative way to achieve consensus in a distributed network. Since then, PoW has become a widely used consensus algorithm for many cryptocurrencies.
PoW is used to validate transactions which produces new blocks and links them together to form a blockchain. In PoW, miners compete against each other to solve complex computational puzzles. When a miner successfully solves the difficult puzzle it is verified by other miners and a new block is added to the blockchain. The transactions in the new block are thus added to the network and miners get rewarded for adding new blocks to the blockchain and securing the network.
The process of proof of work secures a blockchain network and helps to protect the network against numerous different attacks. The more miners a PoW blockchain has, the more computational hash power it has, which makes the blockchain more secure. A successful attack on a PoW blockchain would require a lot of computational power and time. Therefore, attacks on highly secure PoW blockchains can be very expensive and deemed pointless. To this day, PoW is considered to be the most secure consensus algorithm because it is the most tried and tested.
However, PoW is not without downsides. It is very energy intensive and therefore not the most efficient consensus algorithm. Also, some experts say that PoW blockchains are more difficult to scale and that newer methods such as PoS or DPoS are required to implement various scaling solutions.
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