For one, the lack of a traditional mining network does not take away the threat of a system takeover.
An individual or conglomerate needs to take control of at least 51% of a network's nodes to be able to manipulate transactions to their advantage.
The likelihood of an entire network takeover with a non-mining system is extremely unlikely for big cap cryptocurrencies, which have a much larger pool of validators and a more established network.
However, the risk of newly formed cryptocurrencies being essentially taken hostage by an overwhelming majority of nodes is higher, and a factor that is carefully considered when building new blockchains.
While the risk of a blockchain takeover is not necessarily amplified with the use of a PoS system, there is a greater likelihood of individuals having an unproportional say in the performance and future direction of a blockchain.
This is because of the model dictating which holders contribute to the blockchain.
In what is a luck-of-the-draw system, those holding more of the connected cryptocurrency have a greater chance of being selected to perform validation tasks.
This skewed system ultimately offers some more power and control over the blockchain than others, ultimately putting the network’s decentralisation credentials at risk.
This is one of the greatest contrasts between blockchains relying on mining validation compared to those which do not, and it provides the core of the argument pro-mining cryptocurrency users provide to anti-miners.
While PoS mining is regarded as the most recent game changer in blockchain transaction validation, there are also other methods developed over cryptocurrency’s short history having various degrees of influence.
Browser mining is a technique utilising traditional PoW mining by combining the computer power of multiple nodes into what are known as mining pools, and sharing the rewards of its progress.
This was originally done using willing participants and their personal equipment, however, the technique has evolved to utilise the power of website visitation.
Before the advent of website use, browser mining was regarded as a clever but redundant process often collecting a relatively low return for the power and investment it required.
Browser mining became a viable option again for prospective miners when programmers began using its capabilities through websites by embedding code allowing miners to utilise the computing power of the website’s visitors.
This enables website operators to mine and generate income without the need of providing its own equipment or power, significantly saving on costs and multiplying its validation rate capabilities.
The practice, known as cryptojacking CryptojackingA controversial mining method utilising browser mining through websites, where programmers embed code allowing them to utilise the computing power of the website’s visitors., brings with it some controversy, particularly when website operators perform browser mining without the knowledge of its visitors.
There are also techniques used specifically by new cryptocurrency operators, usually before the coin is released to the market.
The practices are generally restricted to blockchain operators and utilised specifically to boost, promote and optimise the performance of a new cryptocurrency upon its release.
They generally occur in an effort to quickly accumulate coins in an effort to manipulate the market, and they are generally frowned upon by the cryptocurrency community.
But while coin release mining can produce fast profits to the detriment of a blockchain’s long term performance and reputation, they also provide a glimpse into the potential of alternative mining operations and what the future of blockchain transaction verification could look like.
Premining is used by coin developers to mine a coin before its release, offering them the opportunity to stack and compile significant volumes, only to sell its holdings upon the coin’s release to the market.
Premining PreminingUsed by cryptocurrency developers to mine a coin before its release, offering them the opportunity to stack and compile significant volumes, only to sell its holdings upon the coin’s release to the market. offers developers opportunities to compile fast capital, and is often utilised by fledgeling tech businesses and startups.
Instamining InstaminingMining large amounts of cryptocurrency immediately upon its release to the market providing miners with the opportunity to accumulate large amounts of coins, controlling distribution in the aim of making profits. takes advantage of the ease in which it is to mine a brand new cryptocurrency, mining large amounts immediately upon its release.
This also provides miners with the opportunity to accumulate large amounts of coins, controlling distribution in the aim of making profits.
Ninjamining NinjaminingReleasing a coin without any prior warning, immediately mining it in significant amounts and accumulating. is literally sneaking up on the market and releasing a coin without any prior warning, immediately mining it significantly and accumulating.
This brings with it a risk of a single significant holder of a cryptocurrency waiting until its value rises before cashing out, not only swaying the market but potentially crashing the value of the cryptocurrency.
Instamining, ninjamining and premining in their currency forms and intended purpose provide numerous issues and are unlikely to be viable for wider going forward.
Browser mining also carries with it a shady reputation, especially when it is utilised with dishonesty.
Until new techniques are developed that have real potential for viable large-scale use, the question regarding the future of blockchain transaction validation will remain an argument for and against PoW and PoS.
The discussion is centred around the decentralisation pros and cons, but the point is not as clear cut as many would suggest.
Both techniques have their advantages, especially during the current period of cryptocurrency uptake and technology.
Many believe as cryptocurrency becomes more popular and networks get even busier, there will be a growing case for non-mining validation.
This could be especially true when considering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will eventually reach its distribution limit of 21 million coins, leaving nothing to distribute to miners as reward for their work.
The blockchain transaction validation method of choice will also be dependent and considerate of the social, economic and legislative norms and expectations of the time.
The world is becoming more environmentally conscious, with movements gaining momentum in convincing governments to reduce carbon emissions.
This is already having an impact on future concept design and performance of blockchains, and putting processes like PoS in the spotlight.
Aside from its comparative operations cost value with PoW, PoS relies on far less power and equipment, leaving a much smaller carbon footprint and offering a mining technique much more likely to appease the growing environmental movement.
But even with a consensus on mining techniques, a potential global uptake of a certain technology would be impossible without significantly altering the cryptocurrency landscape, even if all miners could be convinced of its potential benefits.
Cryptocurrency mining is a fast-paced and ever-evolving industry that will likely see new and exciting innovations developed consistently.
That being considered, it is impossible to know which method of transaction validation will be the best fit for the future without knowing the scenario of cryptocurrency use and the best fit-for-purpose mining technology available.
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