It is an open source peer-to-peer network where transactions are validated by network nodes based on cryptography. These transactions are recorded in a public distributed ledger called the Blockchain. It was initially introduced in the midst of the financial crisis in by the infamous Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin, the digital cash, was essentially a by-product of the blockchain and was created as a reward for mining or verifying transaction on the network.
When it comes to mining, you want to first think about whether you are going to solo mine or pool mine. BTC is no longer profitable to solo mine, so if you are thinking of mining BTC, the best option would be to join a mining pool or alternatively focus on cloud mining.
Pool mining has associated costs like pool fees but you will see quicker rewards and reduced reward variance in comparison to solo mining. SHA is used in the mining process as well as the process of creating bitcoin addresses to improve security and privacy. Proof-of-Work is the original consensus mechanism used by cryptocurrencies. The mechanism is used to confirm or verify the validity of transactions and create new blocks of transactions to be added to the blockchain.
Miners compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles to receive the right to add new transactions to the main blockchain and receive the blockchain reward. The solution is very hard to achieve but very easy to validate.
Each computer that validates your solution updates its copy of the Bitcoin transaction ledger with the transactions that you chose to include in the block. The system generates a fixed amount of bitcoins currently Additionally, you get paid any transaction fees that were attached to the transactions you inserted into the next block.
But if you think about it, the mining part is just a by-product of the transaction confirmation process.