Friday, June 24, 2011

Bitcoin network surpasses 100 Petaflops

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency. This means that there will not be a central authority governing transactions. Every client also acts as a 'server', and the network collectively manages transactions. This design prevents it from having a single point of failure, protecting it from the fate of the Liberty Dollar.

To mine new coins in Bitcoin, users are to calculate a mathematically hard problem. This problem has the property of being hard to compute, but easy to check. The difficulty is increased every two weeks, and when new coins are being created too fast. This makes sure that coins are difficult to get. Due to the use of intensive calculations, Bitcoin miners have collectively surpassed the 100 Petaflop barrier (according to Bitcoin Watch).

In comparison, the current top supercomputer is the K-Computer, at 8.162 Petaflops. The current second (Bitcoin being the first) distributed computing project is Folding@Home, is at 7.87 Petaflops.

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