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Proof of Work

Proof of Work is a consensus algorithm used in the process of mining and verifying transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain

The “work” is done to a block by a miner’s computer processor; it involves making sure that the block header is valid, the hash is below the target, and the nonce is found. The difficulty of the work is set by the difficulty adjustment so that a new block is created every 10 minutes on average.

The “proof” is the fact that it is easier to verify the validity of a given accepted block – and all transactions therein – than it is to do the work itself via mining. Anyone who runs a full-node of the Bitcoin blockchain can check the validity of any block in the blockchain as proof that the mining was done correctly.