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Blockchain Consensus and Mining Demystified | by Kaan Kaçar | Coinmonks | May, 2023

Kaan Kaçar

Mining is a fundamental concept in blockchain technology, serving as the backbone for maintaining decentralization, security, and consensus across the network. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of mining blocks in Web3, exploring its role, algorithms, rewards, and the underlying code. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a deep understanding of how mining functions within the Web3 ecosystem.

  1. Consensus Algorithms in Web3:

Web3 employs various consensus algorithms, each with its own advantages and trade-offs. The two primary consensus algorithms used in Web3 networks are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

2.1 Proof of Work (PoW):

Proof of Work is the consensus algorithm initially introduced by Bitcoin. It requires miners to solve computationally intensive mathematical puzzles to validate transactions and create new blocks. This process involves finding a nonce value that, when combined with the block data, produces a hash with a specific number of leading zeros.

The difficulty of finding a valid nonce is adjusted dynamically to maintain a consistent block generation time. Miners compete against each other to find the solution, and the first miner to solve the puzzle broadcasts the new block to the network. PoW provides security through the notion of “work,” as it requires substantial computational power to manipulate the blockchain history.

2.2 Proof of Stake (PoS):

Proof of Stake is an alternative consensus algorithm that relies on the concept of staking. In PoS, validators are chosen to create new blocks based on the number of coins they hold and are willing to “stake” as collateral. Validators are selected randomly, taking into account their stake, and are responsible for validating transactions and proposing new blocks.

Unlike PoW, PoS does not require miners to solve computationally expensive puzzles. Instead, it introduces a probability-based system that rewards validators based on the number of coins they hold and the length of time they are willing to lock those coins.

2.3 Other Consensus Algorithms:

Apart from PoW and PoS, there are several other consensus algorithms in the Web3 ecosystem, such as Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), and more. These algorithms offer different levels of decentralization, security, and scalability, catering to specific use cases and network requirements. But these are for another post.

3. Anatomy of a Block:

To understand the mining process, it is crucial to grasp the components that constitute a block in the blockchain.

3.1 Block Header:

The block header contains vital metadata about the block, including the previous block’s hash, a timestamp, a nonce, and the Merkle root of the transactions within the block. Miners modify the nonce value to find a valid block hash that meets the network’s mining difficulty requirements.

3.2 Transactions:

A block consists of a set of transactions, representing the actions and data stored on the blockchain. These transactions can involve transferring digital assets, executing smart contracts, or any other operations supported by the blockchain network.

3.3 Merkle Tree:

The Merkle tree, or hash tree, is a data structure used to efficiently store and verify the integrity of transactions within a block. It organizes transactions into pairs, hashes them, and then hashes the resulting hashes until a single root hash, known as the Merkle root, is obtained. This root hash is stored in the block header, enabling efficient verification of transaction inclusion in the block.

3.4 Nonce and Mining Difficulty:

The nonce is a crucial element in the block header used in the Proof of Work consensus algorithm. Miners adjust the nonce value in an iterative process to find a valid block hash that satisfies the network’s mining difficulty. The mining difficulty determines the computational effort required to find a suitable hash, thereby regulating the rate of block creation.

4. Mining Process:

Now let’s explore the step-by-step process of mining a block in Web3.

4.1 Block Validation:

Before mining a new block, miners validate the transactions they receive from the network. This involves verifying the authenticity of the transactions, checking if the senders have sufficient funds, and ensuring that the transactions adhere to the consensus rules and smart contract logic.

4.2 Block Creation:

Once the transactions are validated, miners start constructing a new block by including a set of transactions in the block’s data structure. They also update the block header, incorporating the previous block’s hash, timestamp, Merkle root of transactions, and a nonce.

Miners iteratively modify the nonce value and hash the block header until they find a hash that meets the network’s mining difficulty criteria. The process involves substantial computational power and randomness, as miners must try different nonce values to find the right hash.

4.3 Mining Rewards:

When a miner successfully discovers a valid block hash, they broadcast the new block to the network. In return for their efforts, miners receive mining rewards, typically in the form of native cryptocurrency tokens. The rewards incentivize miners to participate in the mining process, contribute computational power, and maintain the security and stability of the blockchain network.

5. Advanced Mining Techniques:

In addition to the basic mining process, several advanced techniques and considerations enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of mining in Web3.

5.1 Mining Pools:

Mining pools are collaborative groups of miners who combine their computational power to increase their chances of mining a block and earning rewards. By pooling resources, miners can collectively solve the mining puzzles more frequently, resulting in a more consistent income stream. Mining pools typically distribute rewards based on each miner’s contributed hash power.

5.2 ASIC Resistance:

Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specialized hardware devices designed for mining cryptocurrencies. They offer significantly higher computational power compared to general-purpose CPUs or GPUs. To maintain decentralization and prevent centralization of mining power, some blockchain networks strive to be ASIC-resistant. They employ algorithms that are more computationally intensive or memory-bound, making it less advantageous for ASICs to gain a significant advantage over other mining hardware.

6. Mining in Web3:

6.1 Implementing Proof of Work in Solidity:

Below is an example of a basic Proof of Work implementation in Solidity:

contract PoW {
uint public nonce;
bytes32 public target;
constructor(uint _difficulty) {
target = bytes32(2 ** (256 - _difficulty));
function mine(uint _blockNumber, bytes32 _blockData) public returns (bool) {
bytes32 hash = calculateHash(_blockNumber, _blockData, nonce);

if (hash < target) {
// Valid hash found, new block mined
// Perform necessary block validation and storage
nonce = 0; // Reset nonce for the next block
return true;

return false;
function calculateHash(uint _blockNumber, bytes32 _blockData, uint _nonce) public pure returns (bytes32) {
return keccak256(abi.encodePacked(_blockNumber, _blockData, _nonce));

In this example, the PoW contract sets a mining difficulty through the target value, which determines the number of leading zeros the hash must have for the block to be considered valid. The mine function iterates over nonce values, calculating the hash using the calculateHash function. If the hash is lower than the target, a valid block has been mined.

6.2 Using Web3.js to Interact with Miners:

To interact with miners in a Web3 application, you can utilize the Web3.js library. Here’s an example of how to submit a mining request to a local mining node:

const Web3 = require('web3');
const web3 = new Web3('http://localhost:8545'); // Connect to a local Ethereum node
const blockNumber = 1234;
const blockData = '0xabcdef...'; // Replace with actual block data
web3.eth.getCoinbase((error, coinbase) => {
if (error) {
const powContract = new web3.eth.Contract(abi, contractAddress); // Replace with actual contract ABI and address
powContract.methods.mine(blockNumber, blockData).send({ from: coinbase })
.on('transactionHash', (hash) => {
console.log('Mining request submitted:', hash);
.on('receipt', (receipt) => {
console.log('Block mined:', receipt.blockNumber);
.on('error', (error) => {
console.error('Mining error:', error);

In this example, we use the web3.eth.Contract function to create an instance of the contract, providing the ABI and contract address. We then call the mine function on the contract instance, passing the block number and data as arguments. The mining request is submitted from the coinbase account, and we listen for transaction events such as transactionHash and receipt to track the mining process.

Final Words:

Mining blocks in Web3 is a complex and vital process that ensures the decentralized and secure operation of blockchain networks. From understanding the role of mining and different consensus algorithms to examining the components of a block and exploring advanced techniques, this comprehensive guide has provided you with a deep understanding of mining in Web3.

Mining in Web3 opens up opportunities for earning rewards, supporting network security, and participating in the governance of decentralized systems. As you delve deeper into the world of Web3 development, continue to explore additional resources, research, and experimentation to refine your understanding and expertise in mining and blockchain technology.

Happy mining and exploring the decentralized future of Web3!

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