Saturday, April 20, 2019


We all know that bitcoin miners spend their time calculating huge sets of data to earn bitcoin while also protecting the bitcoin network. But the problem is that such a large amount of computing resources cannot be used for other purposes, and it also consumes a lot of energy.

However, there are other ways to use these computing resources. A recent research team used an encrypted digital currency network to store archived data. For example, permacoin.What is proof of workload?

Bitcoin uses computing resources to mine, which is called the “workload proof” mechanism. The central idea is that it takes time to generate bitcoin, so each bitcoin takes an equal amount of time to produce.

To accomplish this, all the miners in the Bitcoin network managed to solve a mathematical problem, and the difficulty factor of the problem varied with the number of participants.

As more people participate in the mining of bitcoin, the difficulty factor increases, which means that more computing resources must be spent to solve the problem. The necessary amount of work to obtain a bitcoin proves that an increase requires more calculation cycles to produce the same amount of bitcoin. The cycle of increased consumption has grown exponentially since last year.

Use storage instead of computing resources

The team behind permacoin is the University of Maryland, the Conrad Institute of Technology and the Microsoft Research Institute. The head of the computer is a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland. The team proposes to use storage instead of computing cycles to protect digital currency security, which also provides a useful way to back up our public data.

Workload Proof In addition to its obvious use on the Bitcoin network, Miller and his team want miners to store large chunks of archived data that the public can view, such as the National Library.

They suggested that this could be achieved by having the miners prove that they were storing the embarrassing part of the data, and that the Bitcoin network proved that the miners had solved the math problem.

Miners still need to prove that they have solved the math problem, but the difficulty of the problem will not increase with the increase of miners.

Instead, miners must use local code to solve this problem. If they successfully solve the problem, the algorithm will deduce that they are storing data, at least for a short period of time. In this way, all miners must simultaneously store the data of the block to participate in the digging of permacoin.

Permacoin also has an intelligent mechanism called “erasing code”, which slightly increases the size of the file, because it will add a small amount of extra data to the end of the file. That way, even if a portion of the file is deleted, this extra data can completely recover the entire file. There are no restrictions on this.

Distributed storage network example

All of this sounds plausible, but why is this? Storage is cheap, and, who accepts bitcoin?, Miller’s team acknowledges that the amount of storage is somewhat lower than traditional cloud storage.

Miller estimates that bitcoin miners have spent $80,000,000 on equipment investment. If they use the money on RAM, they can buy about 4PB (4,000,000 GB) of RAM storage.

This is the amount that the entire network can store. In the paper, the number of 4PBs given by Miller is a safe value. If each miner buys storage instead of spending on computing power, Bitcoin users can store 200TB of files.

200TB is small in the storage world (even if this capacity is enough to store all of the printed materials of the aforementioned Library of Congress), it can also provide online storage, such as through Amazon’s Glacier.

Distributed storage

Miller emphasized that the lack of permacoin storage capacity reduces risk.

“The main advantage of permacoin is not just the amount of data stored, but its discrete storage method.” He said,

“Even if Amazon Glacier storage service, the service can replicate data in different places, it is subject to Amazon’s central management domain. (ie controlled by the central node).” Miller continued, “Permacoin’s goal is the decentralized security currently available in the Bitcoin network, without the central node being responsible for the entire data.”

Miller’s approach is somewhat different from other decentralized storage projects, which have been in progress for a while, such as LOCKSS at the University of Standford (multiple copies guarantee security). The mechanism is that the software monitors the computers that join the network and checks whether the files are still saved by the computers. The names of these files are what they declare, so that the file fragments can be assembled into a complete one at any time.

LOCKSS relies on these participants who share common interests and voluntarily, while permacoin uses more permacoin to reward miners for storing files.

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