Hive's 'Proof of Brain' consensus algorithm for awarding payouts is uniquely fun and inspiring to use if you are the kind of person who likes to solve puzzles, write, create, educate and curate that process too. Interestingly, it shares some qualities with Bitcoin's Proof of Work algorithm too!
Bitcoin was the first public example of a cryptocurrency and it utilises a 'proof of work' algorithm. In short, this means that the computers that run the Bitcoin network are competing constantly to perform maths calculations in order to 'win' the right to record the next block of data in the public ledger system that Bitcoin relies on. In other words, Bitcoin is powered by puzzle solving computers.
The rewards from Bitcoin 'mining' for the operators of the computers involved can be pretty high, though they recently dropped due to adjustments made as a result of China banning crypto mining. The difficulty of Bitcoin mining is adjusted every two weeks to compensate for changes in the amount of computing power competing to receive future mining rewards.
Proof of Work
- Requires a consensus of computers to work together to produce the next block in the blockchain to record the latest transactions on the Bitcoin network.
- Is powered by 'mining' computers that are incentivised to compete to solve maths problems in order to receive mining reward payouts.
- The more computers that mine BTC, the harder the puzzles become - meaning that the proof of work algorithm manages the resources and throughput which the network requires and can support.
The Hive Blockchain is a 'forked' project from the Steem blockchain and was created because Steem was taken over by Justin Sun, a dubious Billionaire from Wuhan China, just at the start of COVID19. He moved to censor the network and generally centralise and ruin it - so Hive was created to carry on the original intent of freedom and free speech that Steem was originally created to deliver.
Steem was the first example of a social network powered by a blockchain and it utilises a 'proof of brain' algorithm! This unique system involves the constant creation of new tokens (inflation) which are paid out as rewards to users for their content, actions and comments on the social network. The network design is both similar and different to Bitcoin in interesting ways!
Firstly, the ones doing the hard work are the people! We have to use our brains in order to compete to receive payouts - we are essentially mining our own imagination as part of the proof of brain process! The computers that run the blockchain aren't competing as they are in Bitcoin's mining process, instead they receive rewards for running the network on a scale that is based on the number of votes they receive from the community. This is 'proof of stake' and the computers on Hive are known as 'witnesses'.
Since the Hive witnesses are chosen by a voting process from within the community, even the witnesses need to demonstrate proof of brain in order to receive votes and stay in the top positions in the witness ranking table.
The result of this is that Hive is FAR more efficient to run than Bitcoin, since the hard work is done by humans battling it out for community approval, instead of having aircraft hangars full of computers competing for Bitcoin's mining rewards.
We could argue that all of the food and electricity used to house the humans that comprise the hive community is considerable, but for the most part people would be blogging and being creative anyway, with or without hive - so the cost to the planet and to us all is really negligible!
Proof of Brain + Proof of Stake
- Requires a consensus of computers to work together to produce the next block in the blockchain to record the latest transactions on the Hive network.
- Is powered by a combination of 'witness' computers and human brains that are incentivised to compete to create new internet content and new ways to serve the hive community in order to receive reward payments.
- The more people that add content to the network, the harder it is to create novel content - meaning that the proof of brain algorithm stimulates an evolution in thinking and creativity!
The Genius of Hive
The proof of brain algorithm is so cunningly genius that I am always amazed when I look at it again with fresh eyes. Not only does it stimulate constant creativity, empower people to do more with their lives than watch TV and enable free transactions between people at high speed, it also does this using way less energy than the most famous crypto projects.
On top of all of this, the process is one that both empowers individuals and also motivates them to act as a collective - seeming to find an interesting balance between the two ends of that spectrum.
Just as Bitcoin adjusts it's barrier for miners according to the needs of the network, the proof of brain algorithm adjust too - in the sense that the rewards WILL be paid out, regardless of what content is posted.. So if there is a slow week, then simpler content will be rewarded well. If the activity on Hive picks up then getting higher rewards will take more effort from the people involved.
There is a key difference between Hive and Bitcoin here though too. The more that the price of Hive increases, the more rewards there are for content creators and witnesses, so there will likely be more demand for transactions on the network with more posts being created. Bitcoin, however, can go up in price without necessarily automatically generating more transactions and stress on the underlying network. There are many variables involved in this comparison, though, so there isn't necessarily a concrete rule involved - just an interesting topic to consider!
Given that Hive is actually far more similar to Bitcoin than may at first appear to be the case and since Hive is so much more personal and socially oriented, it seems that Hive should really be more recognised than it has been so far. So many people obsess over Bitcoin, which has limited utility simply because it was the first mover, has a high token value and has largescale adoption. Where might we be if we shifted our collective focus onto more practical uses for blockchain such as social networking and the entrepreneurial powers of Hive?
One of the main barriers to this happening is that Hive is being actively censored by silicon valley who see it as competition. At the same time there is a barrier to understanding Hive's details and complexities and it is these that I aim to overcome by creating posts like this one and the user guide to hive that I recently created too :)
If you've found this post useful or interesting please consider reading my witness statement as I am one of the folks engaging my imagination to help run Hive behind the scenes and your vote for me makes a big difference to how much time and resources I have available to help Hive grow and evolve. I have a lot of ideas for Hive but need more votes to realise them :)
Wishing you well,
Read My User Guide for Hive Here