For first timers and people used to Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the mining process of Burst can be a little hard to grasp. After reading this article you should have a basic understanding of “plotting”, “mining”, “reward assignment” and other words specific to a Proof-of-Capacity cryptocurrency.
In a Proof-of-Work system, the network of transactions is secured by performing an insane amount of computations per second in order to validate each block. That is the reason why you have to use powerful hardware like graphic cards, processors or application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to mine. This leads to downsides like high electricity consumption, heat and noise, the need for specialized, non-reusable hardware, and centralization of the mining process by big corporations.
Burst mining style solves all these problems (and is also ASIC-resistant) by allowing HDD mining – miners secure the network with their disk space. You can see it as a “condensed Proof-of-Work”: you compute once (a process called plotting) and cache the results of your work on hard disk space. Then mining only requires to read through your cache.
The following is a non-technical description of the process. If you want the full explanation, you should read this article.
Step 1 – Plotting
Plotting is the process through which miners miners pre-generate on their HDD chunks of data called «plots», containing all the computations necessary to forge blocks. Plotting is a long and energy consuming process that is done through your CPU or GPU. The good news is: it has to be done only once! Then your plot files are stored on the HDD and ready to be used to mine Burst. In a Proof-of-Work system, this is done continuously for each and every block.
Step 2 – Reward assignment
Setting a “reward recipient” for your Burst account allows you to define a beneficiary who will get the BURST reward should your miner find a block. A pool miner sets this recipient to the pool’s address while a solo miner uses his or her own address. In the first case the miner will only get paid when “forging” (winning) a block but with the entirety of the block reward. In the second case every miner in the pool gets a portion of the reward when another forges a block.
Step 3 – Mining
Once plots are generated and stored on a drive and the reward assignment is set, the miner just has to launch his mining software. It will read through his plots in order to come up with an amount of time (called the “deadline“) necessary to forge the current block. Once the deadline is submitted, the HDD becomes idle until the next block appears. This is the reason why mining Burst is so energy efficient and easy on the hardware: your HDD is idle most of the time and reading through the plot files only for a few seconds for each block. The best deadline submitted among all miners is the one forging and establishing the duration of the block.
Also published on Medium.