Cryptocurrency mining is a process by which new coins are introduced into the existing circulating supply, as well as a process used to secure the network the coin operates on. The people who mine a coin, are known as miners. Therefore, instead of having a central authority that controls and secures the money supply, this control and security is spread out across the network that miners help to maintain.
The Mining Process
Transactions that occur on the network such as, “Alice sends 10 bitcoins to Bob”, are collected by a miner and bundled up into a block. The miner then verifies that all transactions in the block are valid, as if he attempts to submit a block with an invalid transaction, the block will be rejected. An example of an invalid transaction would be Alice sending 10 Bitcoins to Bob, even though she does not have 10 Bitcoins to send.
After the miner has successfully verified that all transaction in the block are valid, he must then compute a cryptographic hash. It is necessary for miners perform this computation in-order to prevent just anyone from being able to create blocks therefore secures the network against fraudulent blocks. Computing a cryptographic hash requires a large amount of computing power as hundreds of millions of calculations are needed to be performed each second. This process is known as proof-of-work. Once the miner successfully solves the hash, his block is then relayed to the network to be checked against the consensus rules. Once accepted, the block is then added to the blockchain network and the miner is rewarded with set amount of the cryptocurrency.