In my earlier tutorial, I demonstrated how to use the Python library hashlib to create a sha256 hash function. Now, using Python, I am going to demonstrate the principle of blockchain mining. Again using BitCoin as my model, I will be trying to find a nonce value that will result in a hash value below a predetermined target.

We will start by simply enumerating an integer through our sha 256 hash function until we find a hash with 4 leading zeros.

I used a while loop, passing the variable “y” through my hashing function each time the loop runs. I then inspect the first 4 digits [:4] of my hash value. If the first four digits equal 0000 then I exit the loop by setting the found variable to 1

(*note, a hash value is a string – hence the need for quotes around ‘0000’)

As you can see in the version above, it took 88445 iterations to find an acceptable hash value

Now, using the basic example of a blockchain I gave in an earlier lesson, let’s simulate mining a block

You’ll see, I am now combining the block number, nonce, data, and previous hash of my simulated block and passing it through my encryption function. Just like in BitCoin, the only value I change per iteration is the Nonce. I keep passing my block through the hashing function until I find the Nonce that gives me a hash below the target.

Now, let’s lower the target value to 6 leading zeros. This should result in a longer runtime to get your hash

To measure the run time difference, let’s add some time stamps to our code

So, I am using the timestamp function twice. D1 will be our start time, d2 will be our end time, and I am subtracting d1 from d2 to get our elapsed time. In the example below, my elapsed time was 5 secs

Now, let’s bump the target down to 7 leading zeros. Now this brings my elapsed computing time to 20 minutes. That is a considerable commitment of resources. You can see why they call it a “proof of work” now.

3 thoughts on “Python: Simulate Blockchain Mining”

Hi There,
In your first program (see above) i.e to find a nonce value which results in 4 leading zeros.
In the above example, the nonce value is 88485 and the hash value is 0000a456e…………………
Am I right to say that if I equate y =88485 and run the following:
hh =hashlib.sha256(str(y).encode()).hexdigest()
Will I get the same hash value 0000a456e…………? If not, where have I gone wrong?
Your help is much apprecaited

Hi There,

In your first program (see above) i.e to find a nonce value which results in 4 leading zeros.

In the above example, the nonce value is 88485 and the hash value is 0000a456e…………………

Am I right to say that if I equate y =88485 and run the following:

hh =hashlib.sha256(str(y).encode()).hexdigest()

Will I get the same hash value 0000a456e…………? If not, where have I gone wrong?

Your help is much apprecaited

Thanks a lot, sir, please help me bitcoin block propagation delay code in python

Does not work. The hash is incorrect.