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ELI5: Cryptocurrency Micro Mining

Micro mining is a cryptocurrency mining modality where large quantities of small, and low computing power, devices perform the mining work.

The idea stemmed from concepts related to IoT (Internet of Things), but also applies to other mining modalities where users contribute tiny amounts of work against proportional rewards. For example, by using their spare CPU time to solve scientific problems against rewards paid in cryptocurrency.

IoT and Blockchain

Some IoT blockchain projects aim to bring trust to distributed and highly decentralized networks of interconnected devices.

These devices would contribute to the network by performing light mining work using small embedded computing power. Smart TV sets, smartphones, field sensors, smart home appliances, even door locks and other security equipment would run a low power consuming routine to mine transactions in the network into a specific blockchain.

The micromining name refers to the small scale of each mining device, contrasted with the high computing power of GPU’s and dedicated ASIC mining machines which can consume several kilowatts of power during operation.

Mining Networks

Micromining devices, on the other hand, typically consume a few watts and aren’t meant to compete with each other for hashpower.

Micromining networks are typically run by the same project participants in order to maintain cooperation between miners rather than establish competition.

Since the computing power in each IoT device is limited, large devices would skew the mining power and could theoretically destabilize the network.

Micromining protocols must therefore guard against excessive hashpower being attached to the network by a rogue party.

Example Use Case: IoTW

IoTW is a project which employs micro mining as part of its IoT architecture.

Links

Micro Mining entry at Investopedia

Solar Micro Mining at MIT (Project ended in 2017)

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