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Proof of Capacity

Last Updated : 11 May, 2022
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Proof-of-Capacity mining is a very new mining method that is presently being employed by one cryptocurrency, Burstcoin. Despite this, many people believe that proof of capacity is a feasible alternative to the currently used mining techniques. It enables mining through the use of hard disk space. A strategy like this offers a lot of benefits, and it’s something that a lot of projects are looking at right now. 

Purpose of Proof of Capacity:
The purpose of Proof-of-Capacity is as follows:

  • PoW is one of the most well-known mining methods nowadays. This entails a miner using computer resources to solve difficult mathematical hash functions. A well-known hashing method called the SHA-256 algorithm is utilized in the case of Bitcoin. These hashing functions are one-way functions with just one solution possible. They need this raw computational power to locate the exact function input in order to achieve the desired function output. The hashing function takes the “nonce” as one of its input variables. The miner will loop over the nonce until they find the proper hash. This is brute-force computing, which takes a lot of time and effort to complete.
  • While the PoW algorithm worked well when Bitcoin was a relatively new technology, the network has grown at an exponential rate. To keep block timings consistent, the Bitcoin system is intended to increase mining difficulty. As a result, mining has grown so tough that only the most powerful computers, known as ASIC, can do it.
  • In order to solve the hash functions, they also need a lot of computing power. The energy invested by all miners who are unable to solve the hash functions in a timely manner will be squandered.
  • As a result, smaller mining operations will have a considerably lower influence on crucial choices made by bigger nodes. So, there is a pressing need for a new mining method that is less energy-intensive than PoW and allows for adequate network decentralization. This is where the concept of Proof-of-Capacity comes into play.

Features:
The features of Proof-of-Capacity are as follows:

  • Proof-of-Capacity consensus is an improvement on the well-known Proof-of-Work blockchain consensus technique.
  • Even before mining is started, there is a need to dedicate the processing power and hard disk storage. Because of this, the system is faster than the PoW.
  • Proof-of-Capacity takes only four minutes to produce a block, but Proof-of-Work takes 10 minutes.
  • It attempts to solve the PoW system’s hashing problem. There is a higher chance of winning the mining conflict if there are more solutions or plots available on the computer.

How Proof-of-Capacity Works?
There are two components to Proof-of-Capacity. First, there’s the hard drive plotting and then there’s the actual block mining. 

1. Plotting: It may take days or even weeks to create the plot files, depending on the size of the hard disk. Plotting is done with the Shabal hash. The crypto/hash function used in Burstcoin is called Shabal. Shabal is a sluggish and hefty cryptocurrency. As a result, it’s excellent crypto for Proof-of-Capacity cryptocurrencies like Burstcoin. This is due to the fact that the precomputed hashes are stored while still being able to do smaller live verifications. Burst makes use of Shabal256, a 256-bit variant of Shabal. The Shabal hashes are precomputed and saved on a hard drive because they are difficult to calculate.

First, the hard drive is plotted. A list of all potential nonce values is constructed by hashing data, including a miner’s account, over and over again. Each nonce is made up of 8192 hashes, numbered from 0 to 8191. All the hashes are coupled into “scoops”, which are groups of two neighboring hashes. 

2. Mining: The second phase is the actual mining, which entails calculating a scoop number by a miner. For example, if a miner starts mining and creates scoop number 40, the miner would then go to nonce 1’s scoop number 40 and utilize the data from that scoop to compute a deadline value. For each nonce stored on the miner’s hard drive, the procedure is repeated to calculate the deadline. The miner chooses the one with the shortest deadline after calculating all the deadlines. Before a miner is authorized to produce a new block, a deadline denotes the amount of time in seconds that has passed since the last block was generated. The miner can fabricate a block and claim the block reward if no one else has done so inside this time frame. For example, if miner A sets a minimum deadline of 40 seconds and no other miners can forge the block within that time, A will be guaranteed the opportunity to forge the next block and be paid.

Applications:

  • Burstcoin is a cryptocurrency that operates on the Proof-of-Capacity principle. The Burstcoin team plans to look at a variety of use cases, including everything from payment solutions to smart contracts, crowdsourcing, and random messaging. Burstcoin is a worthy initiative to test the possibilities of PoC since it offers a compelling idea to consumers, companies, developers, and miners. Despite the fact that there aren’t many cryptocurrencies that use Proof-of-Capacity today, a few projects are gaining traction in this area.
  • Proof-of-Capacity, according to BXTB (which is a dual blockchain, a dual token platform supported by the BXTB firm) has appeal in allowing users to mine the BXTB governance token.
  • Permacoin repurposes Bitcoin’s PoW for a more general purpose, establishing a reliable, distributed storage system. Participants in PermaCoin must additionally save chunks of a huge file in order to be eligible for the leader election. An authority ‘dealer,’ who signs file blocks, distributes the file.
  • Participants construct and commit to a unique hard-to-pebble graph in SpaceMint’s consensus mechanism, which is based on a non-interactive form of proof-of-capacity (called proof-of-space).

Advantages:

  • Any standard hard drive can be used, so there is an edge over other miners that have invested in specialist equipment, such as ASIC mining for Bitcoin.
  • Mining with hard drives saves 30 times more energy than mining with ASICs.
  • Because everyone has a hard disk, the proof of capacity is more decentralized. We may even mine from the hard disk of the Android phone.
  • Miners are not required to upgrade their equipment on a regular basis. Older hard disks are just as capable of storing data as newer ones.
  • After mining is completed, one may wipe the hard drive and put it back in its original use.

Perhaps this is why many in the bitcoin world see the mining algorithm as a new remedy for a decentralized, environmentally friendly alternative. 

Disadvantages:

Proof-of-capacity mining, on the other hand, has a number of drawbacks:

  • Technology has been embraced by a small number of developers.
  • Beyond the mining of the coins, the data plotted on the hard disk is useless. This suggests that there is a lot of room that isn’t being used.
  • Although Proof-of-Capacity mining has reduced entry hurdles, consumers might also purchase bigger hard drives. Nothing prevents a person from obtaining considerably larger hard drives and utilizing them to mine the majority of the money.
  • If mining becomes popular, there is a chance that hackers will try to take advantage of it. Mining malware is currently infecting many computers all over the world. PoW mining can occasionally be detected as a cause of PC slowdown. Proof-of-Capacity, on the other hand, makes it considerably more difficult to determine whether your excess hardware space is being utilized for illegal reasons.

One of the most intriguing mining methods is Proof-of-Capacity. It not only rethinks how mining has been conducted in recent years, but it is also a solution that many consider being environmentally beneficial. It also lends itself to the most popular cryptocurrency panacea: a completely decentralized environment. It’s still a fresh notion that hasn’t seen widespread adoption, like other algorithms. Now that initiatives like BXTB are looking towards real-world applications for their native coins created through Proof-of-Concept, the industry is entering a new age. Bringing cryptocurrencies to the public is a difficult task, but if everyone can participate without having to spend money on additional technology, things may improve. It remains to be seen if Proof-of-Capacity can overcome some of the scaling issues that more established blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are experiencing.



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