Mining — Ethereum Homestead 0. The word mining originates in the context of bitcoin getwork c section gold analogy for crypto currencies. Gold or precious metals are scarce, so are digital tokens, and the only way to increase the total volume is through mining. This is appropriate to the extent that in Ethereum too, the only mode of issuance post launch is via mining.

Unlike these examples however, mining is also the way to secure the network by creating, verifying, publishing and propagating blocks in the blockchain. Ethereum, like all blockchain technologies, uses an incentive-driven model of security. Consensus is based on choosing the block with the highest total difficulty. Miners produce blocks which the others check for validity.

The Ethereum blockchain is in many ways similar to the Bitcoin blockchain, although it does have some differences. Aside from that, two other values, the block number and the difficulty, are also stored in the block. The point in PoW algorithms is that there is no better strategy to find such a nonce than enumerating the possibilities, while verification of a solution is trivial and cheap. This makes it possible to control the time of finding a new block just by manipulating the difficulty. As dictated by the protocol, the difficulty dynamically adjusts in such a way that on average one block is produced by the entire network every 15 seconds.

Memory hardness is achieved with a proof of work algorithm that requires choosing subsets of a fixed resource dependent on the nonce and block header. Since the DAG only depends on block height, it can be pregenerated but if its not, the client needs to wait until the end of this process to produce a block. If clients do not pregenerate and cache DAGs ahead of time the network may experience massive block delay on each epoch transition. Note that the DAG does not need to be generated for verifying the PoW essentially allowing for verification with both low CPU and small memory. As a special case, when you start up your node from scratch, mining will only start once the DAG is built for the current epoch. All the gas consumed by the execution of all the transactions in the block submitted by the winning miner is paid by the senders of each transaction.

The gas cost incurred is credited to the miner’s account as part of the consensus protocol. Over time, it is expected these will dwarf the static block reward. A maximum of 2 uncles are allowed per block. Mining success depends on the set block difficulty. Block difficulty dynamically adjusts each block in order to regulate the network hashing power to produce a 12 second blocktime. Your chances of finding a block therefore follows from your hashrate relative to difficulty.