Minefield: Top Mining Algorithms Explained

  • To fight back against ASIC dominance
  • To allow home station owners to confidently mine on GPUs
  • To protect the system from hacking and 51% attacks.

What is SHA-256 mining algorithm?

SHA-256 hash algorithm is an encryption mechanism created by the NSA. SHA-256 algorithm explanation, in a nutshell, looks like that: the key task of the algorithm is to convert random information into fixed-length values and use it to identify data.

  • Data compression is performed promptly;
  • It is impossible to roll back the conversion process without the keys;
  • The probability of collisions is reduced to zero.

SHA-256 cryptocurrencies

According to CoinMarketCap this algorithm is related to 47 cryptocurrencies. Of course, the pioneer in this regard is Bitcoin. Apart from it, here are 5 most capitalized currencies with SHA-256 (at the moment of writing this article):

  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin SV (BSV)
  • Peercoin (PPC)
  • Namecoin (NMC)
  • Litecoin Cash (LCC)


One of the most famous alternative algorithms. ProgPOW is short for Programmatic Proof-of-Work. It was created in 2018 by a group of developers named “ifdefelse”. It is considered an ASIC-resistant algorithm and is very useful for GPU mining.

Scrypt algorithm

This is a popular adaptive cryptographic algorithm that was created as an alternative to SHA-256. It was written by FreeBSD security officer Colin Percival as a crypto-protection for online services to keep backup copies of UNIX-like operating systems.

Scrypt algorithm cryptocurrencies

CoinMarketCap shows 108 altcoins related to this algorithm in one way or another (at the time of writing). The most famous ones are Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).


The cryptographic function implemented in this algorithm uses the concept of the birthday paradox. Here is the essence of this concept: in a group of 23 people there will be at least one pair with the same date of birth. And its probability is more than 50%. For a group of 60+ people, this probability is even higher — 99%.

Equihash coins

According to CoinMarketCap, Equihash is used in 6 well-known and lesser-known cryptocurrencies: Zcash (ZEC), Komodo (KMD), and others.

Bottom line

GPU mining today is difficult to compete with ASICs, which has made GPU mining much harder. Moreover, there are serious concerns about “51% attacks” that already look quite real. Against this background, the expansion of the range of alternative mining algorithms, providing both more protection and aiming for equal rights for different categories of miners, is a very welcome trend. Time will show which algorithms prove to be reliable and effective.



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