Chain Reorganization

Chain reorganization is a client-local phenomenon where a client discovers a new difficultywise-longest well-formed blockchain which excludes one or more blocks that the client previously thought were part of the difficultywise-longest well-formed blockchain, resulting on orphan blocks.

Bitcoin Network

The bitcoin network is a peer-to-peer payment network that operates on a cryptographic protocol. Users send and receive bitcoins, the units of currency, by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the network using bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet software. Transactions are recorded into a distributed, replicated public database known as the blockchain, with consensus achieved by a proof-of-work system called mining. Satoshi Nakamoto, the designer of bitcoin, claimed that design and coding of bitcoin began in 2007. The project was released in 2009 as open source software.

Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)

The Secure Hash Algorithms are a family of cryptographic hash functions published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

CPU Miner

Either refers to (1) a bitcoin miner which uses a computer's CPU, or (2) a simple client program that performs Pooled Mining or solo mining.

Miner

To form a distributed timestamp server as a peer-to-peer network, bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system. This work is often called bitcoin mining. Requiring a proof of work to accept a new block to the blockchain was Satoshi Nakamoto's key innovation. The mining process involves identifying a block that, when hashed twice with SHA-256, yields a number smaller than the given difficulty target. While the average work required increases in inverse proportion to the difficulty target, a hash can always be verified by executing a single round of double SHA-256. For the bitcoin timestamp network, a valid proof of work is found by incrementing a nonce until a value is found that gives the block's hash the required number of leading zero bits. Once the hashing has produced a valid result, the block cannot be changed without redoing the work. As later blocks are chained after it, the work to change the block would include redoing the work for each subsequent block. Majority consensus in bitcoin is represented by the longest chain, which required the greatest amount of effort to produce. If a majority of computing power is controlled by honest nodes, the honest chain will grow fastest and outpace any competing chains.

Hash Function

A Hash or also called hash function is any algorithm that maps data of arbitrary length to data of a fixed length. The values returned by a hash function are called hash values, hash codes, hash sums, checksums or simply hashes. Recent development of internet payment networks and digital money, such as Bitcoin, also uses a form of 'hashing' for checksums, and has brought additional attention to the term.

Command-Line Interface (CLI)

A command-line interface (CLI) processes commands to a computer program in the form of lines of text. The program which handles the interface is called a command-line interpreter or command-line processor. Operating systems implement a command-line interface in a shell for interactive access to operating system functions or services.

Coinbase (Mining)

The coinbase is the content of the 'input' of a generation transaction. While regular transactions use the 'inputs' section to refer to their parent transaction outputs, a generation transaction has no parent, and creates new coins from nothing. The coinbase can contain any arbitrary data.

Timestamp

A timestamp is a sequence of characters or encoded information identifying when a certain event occurred, usually giving date and time of day, sometimes accurate to a small fraction of a second. The term derives from rubber stamps used in offices to stamp the current date, and sometimes time, in ink on paper documents, to record when the document was received.

Nonce

The "nonce" in a bitcoin block is a 32-bit (4-byte) field whose value is adjusted by miners so that the hash of the block will be less than or equal to the current target of the network. The rest of the fields may not be changed, as they have a defined meaning. Any change to the block data (such as the nonce) will make the block hash completely different. Since it is believed infeasible to predict which combination of bits will result in the right hash, many different nonce values are tried, and the hash is recomputed for each value until a hash less than or equal to the current target of the network is found. The target required is also represented as the difficulty, where a higher difficulty represents a lower target. As this iterative calculation requires time and resources, the presentation of the block with the correct nonce value constitutes proof of work.