Blockchain Research Bytes #1

Saving energy with hashing algorithm enhancements

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An introduction to the series

Over the past decade, blockchain technology has become highly common, primarily owing to the effective implementation in the cryptocurrency realm. After the emergence of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain solutions have been implemented in just about every dimension of traditional business activities as a medium to securely exchange digital assets among trust-less parties. This widespread attention is evident in the number of scientific research publications in recent years.

Blockchain Research Insights #1:

Article: Demystifying Crypto-Mining: Analysis and Optimizations of memory-hard PoW Algorithms.”

Paper Overview:

Background: The authors describe the three most prevalent memory-hard PoW algorithms operating on NVIDIA GPUs, including Ethash, CryptoNight, and Scrypt. They draw an illustrative algorithm to describe the basic functioning of a PoW memory-hard algorithm. We provide a brief overview of the algorithm before moving on to the original contribution of the paper.

Notable Results from the hashing algorithm benchmarking:

CryptoNight is reported to be the most memory-hard algorithm, followed by Ethash and Scrypt since it has the lowest compute utilization. Memory is considered the source of the performance bottleneck on the selected memory-hard PoW algorithms, according to the analysis of utilization. Ethash uses just over 1 GB of memory, which is the lowest of all algorithms. CryptoNight uses more memory instructions than the other two algorithms, reducing the use of the computer while keeping the memory fully used. They also state that the limited memory bandwidth and low cache hit rate bound the memory-hard PoW algorithm performance.

Implications for the greater blockchain community:

Cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology powering them will continue to have a large impact on the financial ecosystem as acceptance and adoption continue to grow. Its up to developers and the community at large to be sure this innovation doesn’t have an equal yet negative impact on the environment.

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Horizon offers a suite of integrated securities software applications for compliant issuance through secondary trading of electronic securities.

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