Mining for everyone

The Burst mining system is unlike any other coin in existence. It is based on using your existing free space on your hard drive to mine coins. Because of this, it is naturally more decentralized, and very low on power usage. The difference between mining and simply running your computer not mining is so negligible you will not notice a difference on your power bill. Due to the nature of the mining, and the fact that it is mineable most efficiently and cost effectively mined on consumer grade storage hardware, the coin lends itself to being much more decentralized by design. Everyone has free hard drive space, and purchase of another drive specific for Burst mining, represents a very small cost. Since the mining process itself doesn’t take much power (as hard disks only average <5W power, just like charging a mobile phone) it makes sense to mine just because you can.

This opens the door to the general public in a way that had never been possible before with other more ‘traditional’ style mined crypto-currencies. The mining process is very easy on hardware, and to date not a single piece of hardware has been reported to have issues due to the BURST mining process running on it. This means that you won’t have to worry about burning up your CPU or GPU like you would if you were mining the other types of cryptocurrency.

Electronic waste of traditional mining vs. unlimited re-usability of HDD capacity

How it works

For those who have not studied Proof of Work, a brief summary is that a Proof of Work is a calculation done that proves that an immense number of calculations (aka work) went into creating it.  In Proof of Work systems, miners continuously run numbers through a hash function looking for inputs which produces outputs that satisfy some set of constraints. In Proof of Capacity, miners do this work once up-front (this is called ‘plotting’), and save the results which they can continue to use each block without needing to continuously do work.

Mining is the act of using these plotted hard drives to power the network.  While mining, miners package all transactions they see on the network that have not yet been submitted into ‘blocks’. Then miners pull those Proofs off of the hard drive using a predetermined set of rules and submit them to the network. The end result is that the more hard drive space you contribute to the network, the more power you have over the network.

How to mine

Technical overview

Miners generate and cache chunks of data known as ‘plots’, which are divided into 4096 portions known as ‘scoops’. Plots are generated by taking a public address and a nonce, then hashing it, pre-appending the resulting hash, repeating the hash-pre-append cycle many times, and then hashing the whole thing and xor’ing the last hash with the whole thing.

Plots are staggered together so chunks of the same scoop number are together, then written to disk.
Each block has a generation signature which is derived only from the previous block’s generation signature and miner, so it is difficult to manipulate.

When mining, the scoop number to be used for a block is derived from the generation signature and the block height, so the miner reads all relevant scoops (each plot will have 1 relevant scoop, and staggering allows for larger sequential read with less seeking). Only 0.024% of the stored data will need to be read each block.

The generation signature is hashed with each scoop. 8 bytes are taken from the hash, then divided by a scaling factor (inverse difficulty). The resulting number is a number of seconds. If that many seconds passes since the last block without a new one, the address/nonce combination used to generate that plot/scoop is eligible to announce a new block.

The miner’s hardware can just sit idle until either that time or a new block.The address/nonce is included in the block as proof of eligibility, and the block is signed by that address.

Flow chart of the process

Click to enlarge

Technically, this mining process can be mined POW-style, however mining it as intended will yield thousands of times the hashrate, and your hardware will sit idle most of the time. Continuously hashing until a block is found is unnecessary, as waiting long enough will cause any nonce to eventually become valid.