What is Proof of Work (POW)?

Proof of work is the system used by Bitcoin and other altcoins. In short it means that you can only mine the cryptocurrency if you can show that you have used enough computational power to process the block, this can be done by anyone and the incentive for mining the block is usually a certain amount of the altcoin.

Proof of work a cryptographic technology that was created by Adam Back which allows us to prove that certain info is valid based on the amount of hashpower that has went into its computation. Bitcoin uses this technology as miners of Bitcoin must demonstrate the amount of hashpower/computational power they put into mining the block. A miner could attempt to ‘fork‘ the ledger and effectively change the transactions on there however this would be very difficult as no single miner or mining pool would have enough computational power to pull this off in theory. However, there is an argument that because money can be spent on certain devices which can mine bitcoin faster than most normal computers then if someone had enough money they could effectively spend enough money to have 51% or more of the computational power when mining a block and could effectively fork the transactions. This is what is known as a 51% attack

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