Proof of work

The earliest blockchain protocols used proof of work (PoW) mining to secure the network and validate the transactions included in each block.

In PoW mining, network participants use either general purpose computer hardware (CPUs or more expensive, but more efficient, GPUs) or purpose-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to find the answer to a mathematical problem in order to certify the transactions included on the chain.

In exchange, those participants earn rewards in the form of crypto coins or tokens. This process is referred to as mining, and being a miner can be lucrative. At the time of writing, mining just one block on the Bitcoin blockchain can earn a miner the equivalent of approximately $250,000 USD in block rewards—not inclusive of transaction fees.

Critics argue that PoW mining tends towards centralization, a trait with potential negative implications for security and accessibility. The increasing cost of participating in PoW mining has led to the consolidation of miners into mining pools, and broad or even hobby-level participation in PoW networks is limited both by the arms race for increasingly tailored computers and the high cost of entering and operating within the market.

Miners are further consolidated within regions with cheaper electricity sources and preferable conditions for operating. Proof of stake validation was developed, in part, to lower these exclusionary barriers and to reduce the energy expenditure required by PoW mining.

→ View more terminology.


About Bison Trails


Pioneering Blockchain Infrastructure®

Bison Trails is a blockchain infrastructure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company based in New York City. We built a platform for anyone who wants to participate in 22 new chains effortlessly.

We also make it easy for anyone building Web 3.0 applications to connect to blockchain data from 30 protocols with Query & Transact (QT). Our goal is for the entire blockchain ecosystem to flourish by providing robust infrastructure for the pioneers of tomorrow.

In January, 2021, we announced Bison Trails joined Coinbase to accelerate our mission to provide easy-to-use blockchain infrastructure, now as a standalone product line. The Bison Trails platform will continue to support our customers. With Coinbase’s backing, we will enhance our infrastructure platform and make it even easier to participate in decentralized networks and build applications that connect to blockchain data.

Blockchain Terminology

View all


bison cool

THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT CONSTRUE ANY SUCH INFORMATION OR OTHER MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT AS LEGAL, TAX, INVESTMENT, FINANCIAL, OR OTHER ADVICE. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION OR ENDORSEMENT OF ANY DIGITAL ASSET, PROTOCOL, NETWORK OR PROJECT. HOWEVER, BISON TRAILS (INCLUDING ITS AFFILIATES AND/OR EMPLOYEES) MAY HAVE, OR MAY IN THE FUTURE HAVE, A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL INTEREST IN, AND MAY RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RELATED TO, ONE OR MORE OF THE DIGITAL ASSETS, PROTOCOLS, NETWORKS, ENTITIES, PROJECTS AND/OR VENTURES DISCUSSED HEREIN.

THE RISK OF LOSS IN CRYPTOCURRENCY, INCLUDING STAKING, CAN BE SUBSTANTIAL AND NOTHING HEREIN IS INTENDED TO BE A GUARANTEE AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSS. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN ARE BASED ON INFORMATION WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE AND HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE BUT BISON TRAILS MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE FAIRNESS, ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, REASONABLENESS OR COMPLETENESS OF SUCH INFORMATION.

ANY USE OF BISON TRAILS’ SERVICES MAY BE CONTINGENT ON COMPLETION OF BISON TRAILS’ ONBOARDING PROCESS, INCLUDING ENTRANCE INTO APPLICABLE LEGAL DOCUMENTATION AND WILL BE, AT ALL TIMES, SUBJECT TO AND GOVERNED BY BISON TRAILS’ POLICIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ITS TERMS OF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY, AS MAY BE AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME.

help

Contact us

Get in touch

General
Sales
Media
Legal