What is Proof of Work?

Proof of work refers to the computational puzzle that miners have to solve which allows many open blockchain networks to remain secure and decentralized.

Proof of Work uses cryptographic functions that essentially guarantee a certain number of computer cycles were spent to solve the puzzle.

In other words, by solving this puzzle, you are proving that you did some amount of work – hence the term Proof of Work.

How much work that takes is dictated by the difficulty, which scales the amount of work it takes to solve the puzzle.

This puzzle can be thought of like a lottery.  Every computer cycle that is used to try and find a solution is a lottery ticket, with the winning reward of issuing the next block and claiming a reward.

Proof of Work is the foundation of many open blockchain networks aligning economic incentives in order to build a system that serves everyone equally.