Don’t Forget About Merged Mining

Don’t Forget About Merged Mining


By Jakub Lazurek

11 Jul 2024 (9 days ago)

3 min read


Merged mining could revolutionize Bitcoin by enhancing security, fostering innovation, and expanding its capabilities beyond a single blockchain, fulfilling Satoshi's vision.

It's crucial for the Bitcoin community to recognize that Satoshi's vision extends beyond a single blockchain. In 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced merged mining, a concept that could revolutionize not just Bitcoin but all cryptocurrencies.

Merged mining expands Bitcoin’s capabilities beyond its single-chain structure, offering benefits often overlooked amidst modern Bitcoin maximalism. It's time for the community to realize that Satoshi's design transcends a single chain.

Merged mining and its auxiliary proof-of-work mechanism allow miners to mine on multiple blockchains simultaneously with the same computational power. Bitcoin halving reduces block rewards every four years, and merged mining can help ease financial pressures on miners.

By participating in merged mining, miners can diversify their income without additional hardware or splitting computational resources. The cost is minimal, requiring only an extra full node or possibly a light client. The real value of merged mining goes beyond immediate financial gains. Satoshi saw it as a way to prevent hash rate fragmentation: Miners mine Bitcoin first and validate other chains, ensuring Bitcoin retains a dominant share of the total hash rate, which maintains the security and stability of all involved networks.

Merged mining also promotes experimentation. Sidechains can test new features and protocols without risking Bitcoin’s core stability, fostering innovation while maintaining Bitcoin's integrity. This collaborative approach allows blockchains to share security and resources.

The emergence of Ordinals and Runes after recent halvings showcase Bitcoin’s expanding potential. Ordinals and Runes allow the inscription of arbitrary data on the Bitcoin ledger, creating new opportunities for utility and experimentation. This development could lead to the next generation of NFTs secured by Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW), rather than centralized servers. However, this increased activity has driven up transaction fees, highlighting the need for scalable layer-2 solutions.

Merged mining, combined with layer-2 solutions, addresses these challenges effectively. By enabling more users to use Bitcoin with lower fees and faster transactions, merged mining supports sustainable use cases and revenue flows within the Bitcoin ecosystem, beyond mere speculation. As these technologies gain traction, robust security remains essential. Merged mining ensures Bitcoin’s substantial hash rate can secure additional functionalities without diluting computational power, paving the way for a versatile Bitcoin that supports innovative applications while maintaining security and decentralization.

Bitcoin maximalism should focus on harnessing Bitcoin's full potential. While some maximalists may distrust deviations from Bitcoin’s core function, it's important to acknowledge the economic and technological benefits of innovations like merged mining.

Merged mining is not just a security enhancement but a way to align layer-2 solutions with Bitcoin, creating a synergistic relationship rather than having layer-2s rely on Bitcoin. This approach ensures proper scaling and advancement of Bitcoin.

Relying solely on advantages like a Bitcoin ETF is insufficient, especially as other protocols like Ethereum now offer the same. To maintain Bitcoin’s leadership, advancements must occur on both technical and product levels. Rather than resisting layer-2 solutions, the community should embrace merged mining to align these innovations with Bitcoin, ensuring continuous progress without compromising the network’s integrity.

In summary, recognizing and implementing merged mining can transform Bitcoin by enhancing security, fostering innovation, and ensuring the network remains robust and versatile. By doing so, the Bitcoin community can fully realize Satoshi's vision and maintain its leadership in the evolving cryptocurrency landscape.

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