Primecoin is an innovative peer-to-peer open source crypto currency, a form of digital currency secured by cryptography and issued through a decentralized mining market. Derived from Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin, Primecoin introduces a unique form of proof-of-work based on prime numbers, and is the first crypto currency in the world designed with scientific computing as its work. This proof-of-work system searches for chains of prime numbers, hence the name of the coin.
Primecoin was created by a person or group who use the pseudonym Sunny King, who also created the crypto currency Peercoin. The Primecoin source code is copyrighted by a group called “Primecoin Developers”, and distributed under a conditional MIT/X11 software license. The currency symbol of Primecoin is the Greek letter psi (Ψ). This letter is chosen as a tribute to Riemann, as its shape symbolizes the Riemann zeta function (there is a graphical rendering used in Primecoin-Qt Windows setup screen). The horizontal bar not only standardizes to currency symbol convention, but also symbolizes one of the highest jewels of math – Riemann hypothesis.
Primecoin has been blamed as the main cause of spot shortages of dedicated servers due to the fact that the currency cannot be mined with GPUs. As such, Primecoin has been a favorite target of malware writers.
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Among features of Primecoin is its one minute blocks and difficulty adjustment. With blocks created every minute, this can provide quicker confirmations of payment transactions. In addition, as opposed to bitcoin which adjust difficulty every 2016 blocks (about two weeks), Primecoin adjusts difficulty every minute at the creation of each new block. Another unique feature is an adjustable block reward that isn’t fixed, but is s always equal to 999 divided by the square of the difficulty
Perhpas the most important feature of Primecoins is its introduction of multi-output energy use to digital currencies. By providing solutions of prime number chains for mathematical research as well as providing computer power to operate the decentralized block chain, Primecoin mining offers what can be considered a more productive use of energy consumption.