Cryptocurrency mining celebrates its 10th year of existence this year. What is mining though? It’s somewhat misunderstood as the process of “finding coins”, but it’s more complicated than that.
Each of the hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence relies on the main concept of the blockchain. Cryptocurrency was designed to be decentralized, secure and unalterable – so every transaction is encrypted. Once that encrypted transaction happens, it’s added to a “block” until a fixed number of transactions have been recorded. That block then gets added to a chain which is publicly available, formally known as a blockchain.
Because of the power of decentralization, the location of the transactions and the person behind them can’t be found so that things can’t be manipulated or controlled by one person or entity.
Since these blocks are heavily encrypted, they’re sort of like complicated math puzzles that only powerful compute-capable hardware can solve. That’s where you need CPU, or Radeon and GeForce graphics cards*. Overall, the process of solving the math puzzles on these blocks and adding them to the public blockchain (think of it as a ledger) is roughly what mining is.