Emercoin outruns Bitcoin
Something interesting happened the other day: Emercoin has exceeded Bitcoin in PoW difficulty.
What does it mean?
The computing power used for mining Emercoins is approximately 1/4 of the overall power of all SHA-256 mining farms. Together with the PoS (Proof of Stake) mechanism, this makes the Emer blockchain exceptionally secure.
Just think of it: An Emercoin block is 10% more difficult to mine using a SHA-256 ASIC than a Bitcoin one. And achieving this gives the miner slightly more than 5 EMC (as opposed to 12.5 BTC per block for Bitcoin). Technically speaking, it is Bitcoin being merge-mined together with Emercoin and not the other way around :-) Although economically, of course, this is not so.
Why did this happen?
This January, Emercoin has switched to so-called merged mining with Bitcoin. Both use the same hashing protocol, allowing their joint mining. Large Bitcoin mining pools, such as F2Pool, have made good use of this by providing Emercoins as a free bonus (“associated gas”) to the main resource.
The computing power used in merged mining has recently doubled, resulting in an increased difficulty of the Emercoin blockchain.
What happens if merged mining is switched off?
Nothing catastrophic. Emercoin’s PoW is recalculated with each block, and 80% of them are PoS blocks. They will keep being generated and supporting the network in good health even if all PoW mining is turned off. Emercoin users and Emercoin-based services won’t even feel that something has changed. Sooner or later, PoW difficulty will drop to values that will allow small-farm mining (using desktop ASICs, video cards, or even CPUs), resulting in much heftier quantities of mined coins. But somehow that doesn’t happen so far. And who would have thought that competing even for 1 EMC would be justified for Bitcoin industry giants?