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Dev Release 18

April 26, 2024

Hey BlockDAG community, blockchain enthusiasts, and everyone in between!


This week, the BlockDAG team continued its in-depth exploration of the technologies that will form the backbone of our network. Our analysis of DAG BFT demonstrated its power to streamline transaction ordering and enable truly independent consensus, paving the way for enhanced scalability. Additionally, we've assessed the value of multi-signature transactions as a critical security mechanism and a tool to empower collaborative governance within the BlockDAG ecosystem.

Proof of Work (PoW) in BlockDAG's DAG-Based Blockchain:

The cornerstone of secure and reliable decentralized networks in blockchain technology is the consensus mechanism. Among these mechanisms, Proof of Work (PoW) has earned its reputation for robustness and resilience. This article delves into the intricate workings of PoW, its consensus logic, and its unique implementation within BlockDAG's innovative Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) architecture.


PoW: The Algorithmic Underpinnings for BlockDAG
At its core, PoW serves as a cryptographic validation mechanism for transactions on a blockchain. It necessitates miners to solve computationally intensive puzzles – cryptographic hash functions – before appending new transaction blocks to the chain. These puzzles demand significant processing power to crack.

Core Algorithms

Hash Functions: SHA-256 stands as a prevalent choice due to its speed and parallelizability. This functions offer crucial properties:

  • Determinism: Identical inputs yield identical outputs (H(x) = H(x) for all inputs x).
  • Pre-image Resistance: Finding the original data (x) from a hash (H(x)) is infeasible.
  • Collision Resistance: Generating two different inputs (x1 and x2) with the same hash output (H(x1) = H(x2)) is highly improbable. These properties fortify the blockchain's security and immutability.

Mining Process:
This iterative process involves:

  • Block Header: This data structure typically includes:
  • Previous Block Hash: The hash of the most recent block in the chain, ensuring immutability.
  • Merkle Root: The cryptographic hash of a Merkle tree, summarizing all transactions within the block for efficient verification.
  • Timestamp: The current time to prevent manipulation.
  • Nonce: An arbitrary number that gets incremented in each iteration during the mining process.
  • Difficulty Target: A numerical value representing the mining difficulty.


  • Hashing: The chosen hashing algorithm (e.g., SHA-256) is applied to the entire block header concatenated with the current nonce value. SHA-256 produces a 256-bit hash output.
  • Difficulty Check: The resulting hash must meet a specific difficulty criteria. This is often achieved by requiring a certain number of leading zeroes in the hash output (e.g., a difficulty of 20 mandates 20 leading zeroes in the 256-bit hash). This ensures a consistent block generation rate despite fluctuating network hash rate. Miners increment the nonce and re-hash the block header until a valid hash is found.


Difficulty Adjustment:
Network hash rate (total computational power) directly impacts difficulty. Experienced developers will recognize functions like retargeting (e.g., Bitcoin's difficulty adjustment every 2016 blocks). Specific algorithms used for this adjustment (e.g., moving average or exponential moving average) can be further explored here. The goal is to maintain a target block generation time (e.g., 10 minutes in Bitcoin) by adjusting the difficulty.


BlockDAG's Implementation:
BlockDAG is revolutionizing blockchain technology by integrating Proof of Work within its DAG-based architecture. BlockDAG's DAG-based blockchain architecture offers inherent advantages such as scalability, throughput, and parallel processing. By incorporating PoW, BlockDAG ensures the security and decentralization of its network while leveraging the efficiency of DAG structures. This innovative approach paves the way for a new era of decentralized applications and digital assets.

Let's deep dive into today's implementation: Merkle Root and SHA256

SHA256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit) Cryptographic Algorithm:

Technical Explanation: SHA-256 iteratively processes input data through a series of compression functions, resulting in a fixed-size hash output. Miners search for a nonce value to append to the block header, aiming to produce a hash value below a specified target.

hash = SHA256(block_header + nonce)

while hash >= target:


          hash = SHA256(block_header + nonce)


Mathematical Formulation: The comparison between the hash and the target is typically represented as:




Merkle Root:
In BlockDAG (Directed Acyclic Graph)-based blockchain, the Merkle root is calculated in a similar way to traditional blockchains but with some differences due to the structure of the DAG. Here's an explanation of how a Merkle root is calculated in BlockDAG blockchain along with pseudocode:


  • In BlockDAG, transactions are not necessarily organized into linear blocks but instead form a directed graph structure.
  • To calculate the Merkle root, transactions are grouped together into blocks in a specific order (e.g., based on timestamp or some other criterion).
  • Each block contains a list of transactions.
  • The Merkle root of each block is computed by recursively hashing pairs of transaction hashes until a single hash remains, which is the Merkle root.


function buildMerkleTree(transactions):  

          if len(transactions) == 1:      

                return hash(transactions[0])  // Leaf node   


               new_transactions = []   

               for i from 0 to len(transactions) - 1 step by 2:          

                     // Concatenate and hash the transaction pairs           

                     concat_hash = hash(transactions[i] + transactions[i+1] if i+1 < len(transactions) else transactions[i])


               return buildMerkleTree(new_transactions)

function verifyTransaction(transaction, merkleRoot, merklePath):   

       hash_result = hash(transaction)  

       for sibling_hash in merklePath:       

              if isLeftChild(hash_result):          

                   hash_result = hash(sibling_hash + hash_result)     


                   hash_result = hash(hash_result + sibling_hash)  

        return hash_result == merkleRoot

function isLeftChild(hash_result):   

       // Implement a function to determine if a hash is the left child of its parent   

      // This can be based on the index of the hash in the Merkle path




  • Suppose we have a block with transactions T1, T2, T3, and T4.
  • We start by hashing pairs of transaction hashes:
  • hash(T1 + T2) and hash(T3 + T4).
  • Then, we hash the resulting hashes:
  • hash(hash(T1 + T2) + hash(T3 + T4)).
  • The final result of this operation is the Merkle root of the block.

This pseudocode demonstrates a simple implementation of calculating the Merkle root in BlockDAG blockchain.


Proof of Work (PoW) remains a cornerstone in blockchain technology, offering robustness and resilience to decentralized networks. Within BlockDAG's innovative Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) architecture, PoW serves as a critical component, ensuring the security and decentralization of the network while capitalizing on the efficiency and scalability inherent in DAG structures.
BlockDAG's implementation of PoW involves core algorithms such as SHA-256 for hashing and Merkle tree for transaction verification. The Merkle root calculation in BlockDAG differs slightly from traditional blockchains due to the non-linear structure of the DAG. However, it retains the essential properties of ensuring data integrity and efficient verification.

Next Steps:

  1. Further Research and Development: Continuous research and development are essential to refine BlockDAG's implementation of PoW, optimizing efficiency, security, and scalability. This involves exploring new algorithms, refining difficulty adjustment mechanisms, and enhancing the overall consensus protocol.
  2. Security Audits: Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments are imperative to ensure the robustness and integrity of BlockDAG's network. Engaging third-party security firms to conduct audits and penetration testing can help identify and address potential vulnerabilities proactively.
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