Who decides on the mathematical problems that miners try solve for Bitcoin rewards

n the Bitcoin network, the mathematical problems that miners solve are designed by the Bitcoin protocol itself. These problems are based on the cryptographic hash function SHA-256. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  1. Block Hashing Algorithm: Miners work to find a nonce (a random number) that, when combined with the block’s header data and hashed with SHA-256, produces a hash that is lower than a specified target.
  2. Difficulty Target: The target is adjusted approximately every two weeks (every 2016 blocks) to ensure that the average time to mine a block remains around 10 minutes. This process is known as the difficulty adjustment.
  3. Proof of Work: The process miners use to find the correct nonce is called proof of work. Miners must perform a vast number of SHA-256 hashes to find a valid nonce that results in a hash meeting the network’s difficulty target.

The Bitcoin protocol, which is implemented in the software run by all nodes in the network, dictates these rules and ensures that all miners are solving the same type of mathematical problem. This decentralized consensus mechanism is fundamental to Bitcoin’s security and operation.