Mining is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions (and a « mining rig » is a colloquial metaphor for a single computer system that performs the necessary computations for « mining »). This ledger of past transactions is called the block chain as it is a chain of blocks. The block chain serves to confirm transactions to the rest of the network as having taken place. Bitcoin nodes use the block chain to distinguish legitimate Bitcoin transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere.
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