Proof of Work (“PoW”)

Proof of Work (“PoW”) is the consensus mechanism used by the Bitcoin blockchain (among others).  PoW blockchains are secured and transactions on them are verified by network participants—called miners—that compete to be the first to solve a mathematical puzzle.  The miner that completes the puzzle first adds the newest batch of data or transactions to the blockchain.  Miners are incentivized to participate in this system with a reward of new cryptocurrency for the miner that is the first to solve each puzzle and accurately validate the new data (corresponding to each transaction being validated on the network).  PoW requires a large amount of computer processing power and the energy required to power those processes is one source of criticism of PoW consensus mechanisms.

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