With the recent RVN price gain, RVN has once again become one of the most profitable coins to mine. This has led to lots of questions about how to mine. Jump to the bottom if you just want the HOW.
Why mine? Because you get RVN, and because it helps the Ravencoin network. It should appeal to the mercenary mindset (what’s in it for me?), and the altruistic mindset (how can I help the Ravencoin network?), and everyone in-between.
What does mining do? It has multiple roles. It distributes the RVN in a fair manner which is important as we’ve seen some token projects that sold their coins and raised money are now in trouble with the SEC. It also secures the network, by identifying hard-to-find hashes that are included in the chain at one-minute intervals. So to re-create a similar chain, it would take just as much effort (hardware and electricity) as everyone working together for RVN. This helps secure the network from attack. It also sets a cadence for the network as every minute all the individual RVN and asset transactions are bundled up into blocks, secured with a hash (found by one miner or pool) that meets the “difficulty” threshold, and transmits it around the world for everyone else to verify and add to the end of the blockchain.
Want to peek beneath the covers? Mining is really just a technical lottery. The mining software is just seeking a hash of a block header that meets the right criteria (“difficulty”).
You might be thinking, what is a hash. It is an algorithm that takes some data and gives you back a number between 0 and 1.1579277. That’s a BIG number — roughly the number of atoms in the known universe. Change the data even a tiny bit and you get a completely different number. Give the algorithm the same data as before and you get exactly the same number back.
Ok, now that you know what a hash is. Mining is just hashing the block header which is only 80 bytes, and then changing the nonce and doing it again.
Wait, what?! What’s a “nonce”? Nonce stands for Number used ONCE. There is space in the block header to change this number used once (nonce), and then the mining software hashes the block header again and gets a completely different hash. Then it repeats the process over and over.