Blake is a cryptographic hashing algorithm which is an improved version of SHA256 and is one of the finalist in NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) SHA3 competition. It is designed and submitted by Jean-Philippe Aumasson and is based on and uses Dan Bernstein’s ChaCha stream cipher.
Blake is the original algorithm and currently there are several versions of this algorithm such as Blake 2b, Blake 2s, Blake256r14, Blake256r8 etc. All these are part of the Blake family and there are many cryptocurrencies based on Blake algorithm. With so many versions of Blake it’s kind of confusing for people when it comes to picking the right coin and miner. Previously we’ve listed all coins that are based on Blake 2b and Blake 2s. Similarly here in this post we’ll cover about Blake-256.
So what is Blake 256 algorithm and what is the difference between Blake256 and other Blake versions. Also is Blake256r14 and Blake256 the same and what are the list of coins that are based on this PoW algorithm?
Blake256 Algorithm – Blake256 R14
First of all Blake256 and Blake256R14 are both the same. Initially when Blake256 was introduced it used 10 rounds of hashing which the developers found to be less secure. To improve security they later increased the number of rounds from 10 to 14 hence it is called Blake256R14 or Blake 14r. Also do note that there is Blake256R8 which uses 8 rounds of hashing and Blake 512 which uses 16 rounds of hashing.
Blake 256 is based on a HAIFA construction which does not suffer from the Merkle-Damgård vulnerabilities as SHA256 does (length extension attacks). Also the 14 rounds is not only secure but it is significantly much faster than the 64 rounds of SHA 256. This hash function has a very strong performance on x86-64 microchip architecture. Blake-256 is the predecessor to Blake 2s and the difference between Blake 256 and other Blake 2 versions is that it uses 32-bit words and produces digest size of 256 bits.
In the cryptocurrency space Blake 256 hashing algorithm has not been used widely. The only coin that is currently using Blake256 algorithm is Decred. Decred is one of the most popular cryptocurrency which ranks in the top 50 of CoinMarketCap. It is an autonomous digital currency with hybrid consensus system (PoW/PoS) which is focused on decentralization and open governance.
Now Blake 256 algorithm is a unique PoW algorithm meaning Decred coin is the only project using it so far. However do not that this algorithm is not designed to be ASIC resistant. Easy and fast implementation of hardware is the main design goal of Blake 256. This has lead many different ASIC manufacturers to produce chips for Decred’s algorithm.
So why Decred has chosen Blake256R14 as its hash function when there are other algorithms that are ASIC resistant?
Why Decred chose Blake256? https://www.reddit.com/r/decred/comments/7rp46d/why_blake256/
Just like every other mining algorithms Decred’s Blake256R14 was GPU mineable initially. In fact people use to dual mine Ethereum and Decred. But as ASICs entered the market the profitability of GPU miners has been killed off. ASIC’s not only killing GPU mining but it also making other ASIC miners obsolete.
Blake (256) R14 ASIC miners
If you are interested in mining Blake 256 algorithm (Decred) and looking to make some profits then you need to look for an ASIC miner. But do note that machines that were considered powerful a few months ago has become useless now. As a result owners of these machines are looking for coins that are based on Blake 256 algorithm. As we said Decred (DCR) is the only coin and if you are currently owning Blake 256 ASIC then you can either mine Decred at loss or just put it aside.
There is a website called www.asicminervalue.com. It has a live income estimation of all known ASIC miners. Just type the algorithm in the search tab and it will display all the ASIC miner models along with their hashrate, power consumption and profitability.
By looking at the income estimation of these machines it’s better to Buy Decred directly rather than investing in an ASIC miner which will never ROI.
Also learn more about Keccak (Sha-3 hash algorithm) which is a much efficient algorithm than Blake256.