BitTorrent developer Bram Cohen has published a new white paper that envisions an eco-friendly alternative to bitcoin's energy-intensive proof-of-work computational process.
Dubbed "proof-of-space," the method relies on disk space rather than computational power as the main resource for mining (the process by which new transactions are added to a blockchain) creating what is claimed to be a less ecologically damaging and more economical alternative to proof-of-work.
Cohen spoke to CoinDesk back in March about his efforts to develop the solution, work that set the stage for this week's white paper release.
The paper, "Beyond Hellman's Time-Memory Trade-Offs with Applications to Proofs of Space," outlines the use of proof-of-space to establish a mining process that requires less energy (and the natural resources to produce it). Because of the reduction in energy requirements, as well as the reliance on pre-existing hardware, the proposed method is aimed at making mining accessible to anyone with a computer.
As the paper explains:
"The idea is to use disk space rather than computation as the main resource for mining. As millions of users have a significant amount of unused disk space available (on laptops etc.), dedicating this space towards securing a blockchain would result in almost no waste of resources."
Under the proof-of-space system, miners allocate some of their unused disk space to the network, with the probability of successfully mining a block being proportional to the amount of space allocated divided by the total capacity of the network.
In addition to Cohen, the white paper credits Hamza Abusalah, Joël Alwen and Krzysztof Pietrzak from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Danylo Khilko from ENS Paris and Leonid Reyzin from Boston University as authors.
It still remains to be seen, however, whether the paper will serve as the basis for a new cryptocurrency, with Cohen telling CoinDesk in March that he doesn't see much need to create a new one.
"For the most part there shouldn't be the need [to launch new coins]," he said, adding:
"But I have this idea about underlying mining and how it works that does make it inherently different."
Hard disks image via Shutterstock
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].
MiningWhite PapersProof-of-SpaceBram Cohen
Coinbase Adds First Ethereum Token to Professional Trading Platform
Crypto exchange startup Coinbase is adding the 0x protocol token to its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro.
Announced Thursday, the exchange said in a blog post that it had begun accepting
SpankChain Says Hacker Returned Stolen Crypto Funds
A hacker who stole 165.38 ETH from the SpankChain platform has returned the funds.
The payment platform focused on the adult industry announced Thursday that the hacker, who stole the funds from th
Korea's Largest Bitcoin Exchange Sells Stake in $350 Million Deal
Bithumb, currently the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea by trading volume, just confirmed it has sold more than 38 percent of its total ownership to a blockchain consortium based in Sing
Nevada's Utilities Agency Eyes Blockchain for Energy Credit System
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, a government agency charged with supervising and regulating power utility services in the state, is looking to implement blockchain for its energy credit tra
Fake News Site Used New Zealand Prime Minister to Pump Bitcoin Startup
A fake news site has used the likeness of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to promote articles on Facebook aimed to pump a crypto startup.
Local media source Stuff reported Friday that sev
FinCEN Blasts Iran's 'Malign' Use of Crypto to Bypass Economic Sanctions
A U.S. regulator is urging domestic exchanges to help prevent the Iranian regime from using cryptocurrency to bypass economic sanctions.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published
3 Bitcoin Price Factors That Suggest Bears Are in Charge
The prospect of a deeper drop in bitcoin prices has increased, price-volume analysis indicates.
The world's most valuable cryptocurrency, which had been trading sideways since September 22, fell sh
Leading Auction House Christie's to Record Art Sales on a Blockchain
London-based Christie's, one of the oldest and most noted art auction houses in the world, is turning to blockchain tech to securely store sales and provenance data.
The firm, which has a history g