Mining Analogies that will save your day
Through two mining analogies that I learned, I hope you also understand once and for all what this process is about and spread the knowledge
Making people’s lives easier is something that I really admire in any person, company or group.
You have to admire when someone has the ability to transform something really difficult in a chewable, palpable and yet smart way.
Some people confuse easy with stupid and that’s just… well, stupid.
Easy is not stupid - that’s why I hate the words ‘For Dummies’.
If you don’t know something and you don’t ask or look for the explanation, you can be dumb. But if you ask questions and try to understand subjects - that’s, for me, my friend, really #Klever of you.
And one way of explaining in an easy way that really fascinates me is through analogies.
Analogies are comparisons that you make with things that are unrelated to your main subject but make your explanation way simpler to understand.
For instance, a good analogy would be:
“As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
“Longbottom, if brains were gold, you'd be poorer than Weasley, and that's saying something.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(Yeah, I couldn’t help myself with that last one).
So, now that you get analogies, let’s use them with something that is in the interest of us all?
One of the most difficult subjects to explain in the crypto universe is the act of mining.
For those who already understand some of it, mining is when crypto transactions are validated through encrypted combinations of codes solved by miners and when cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin enter into circulation as a consequence.
But I know that this still can be confusing for some.
So… let’s try the other way.
Mining is like playing with Rubik’s Cube
I’ll start with one of the most famous and easiest examples.
One can say mining is like solving a Rubik’s Cube: easy ‘af’ to those who can and difficult ‘af’ to those who don’t even have a clue how to finish one.
To be more precise, you can say that the process of mining a Blockchain is like solving a rubik’s cube in the fastest way. Through their processing computers, miners keep trying to find the right fit for the proposed puzzle given by the blockchain.
When everything “fits” together, the puzzle is solved and that miner gets the first assigned role to validate the transaction in the blockchain. This process can also be called: proof-of-work.
After the validation, other miners will do the same work and also validate the transaction.
Almost like a line of school kids trying to do the same as the first one who did it really fast.
Every kid (miner) solves the cube (validates the transaction) and passes it on to the other one.
And like a Rubik’s cube, the result must be the same (the same colors on the same side). Otherwise, something is wrong and it cannot go forth.
So. There it is.
Do you understand it better now?
Let’s try another example.
It’s like hitting the Lottery!
If the Rubik’s cube didn’t work for you, maybe a simple example of hitting the lottery can help clear your mind.
Let’s imagine that each miner is a gambler in a big casino.
They are playing with dice and odds. However, each one of them has a dice with a thousand (yes, 1000) sides on it.
So, the way to win is by simply getting a number below 10.
Not so easy, right?
Even worse, in their attempts, they have to roll the dice with a clock ticking. So the one gambler that hits the number below 10 first - and really quickly - wins the lottery.
That’s comparable to mining.
Even though the statistics point to a very long game, with the passing time, more players (miners) come to the table and that probability of hitting the correct number gets higher - because we have more people playing it, right?
So, let’s say some fortunate figure hits the number eight in the dice.
Now, all the gamblers will lean in and check if the number in the dice is correct. If it is, the money can be released for the table. If not, they’ll continue to roll the dice until it’s right.
Good analogy, huh?
Of course in real life things get a little trickier. It’s normal, because we do want the system to be complex in order to guarantee its safety.
However, understanding the basics makes things more trustable.
You have to understand that we are dealing with a very secure and tamper-proof system here.
I’ll not use analogies now, but I think you’ll be able to get the idea now that we covered the basics:
The process of mining (rolling the dice or playing with the cube) is made by Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), which are specialized computers that are able to compute hashes (codes with information of the block) really quickly.
The more powerful the machine, the more hashes per second (hashrate) it can compute. Nowadays, to mine (or to participate in the gambling table), is getting more difficult and you have to “up the ante” in order to compete with those other players.
So, that’s why mining (gambling or playing with rubik’s cube) is not easy.
Anyways, I think now we can finish up our lesson on mining analogies. Those two cover the strong basis of it and I hope that you got the full picture and can explain it better to your friends, colleagues, family or even to yourself.
And, remember: it’s not dumb to ask and it’s not a shame to look for answers.
It’s a shame to stay in the dark and not be Klever enough to turn on the lights.
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