One of the most powerful and secure crypto mining algorithms in the world is X11, an algorithm designed on the basis of using a sequence of different hash functions, with a single purpose: to offer the best possible security for cryptocurrency mining. 

SSurely you have heard or read about X11, a mining algorithm very particular and not just by name. The truth is that the design of this algorithm is completely different from the known algorithms of other blockchains. And it is that unlike SHA-256 (the algorithm of Bitcoin) or Scrypt, X11 is not a single hash function mining algorithm. Instead, X11 collects a total of 11 hash functions distinct that are used in a specific order to result in the final hash of a block.

Complicated, don't you think? To a certain extent yes, but it is still a technical and cryptographic genius that offers much greater guarantees and security. But what was the origin of X11? How does it work? And what blockchain and cryptocurrency projects use it? Well, all this you will know below.

Origin of the X11 algorithm

The origin of X11 dates back to March 2014 when the developer Evan Duffield, presented his cryptocurrency project DarkCoin, currently known as Dash. In his whitepaper, Duffield made it clear that his project sought to overcome some of the flaws he considers within Bitcoin, in particular, its lack of scalability, better privacy, native anonymity, and resistance to ASIC to avoid the centralization of mining.

The presentation of this project caught the attention of the crypto community, especially due to its ability to offer anonymity and of course, its striking mining algorithm. And it is that the structuring of this algorithm was something new and never seen. For that reason, many in the community set out to study its possibilities. As a result, a whole new development arises, among which algorithms such as X13 y X17, algorithms that follow the same operating scheme, but using more hash functions to do their job.

Understanding how X11 works

Now how does a mining algorithm like X11 work? The truth is that algorithmically it is not complex. First of all, let's know what hash functions X11 uses:

  1. BLAKE
  2. BLUE MIDNIGHT WISH (BMW)
  3. Grøstl
  4. JH
  5. Keccak (An algorithm whose variant gave rise to SHA-3)
  6. Skein
  7. Luffa
  8. CubeHash
  9. SHAvite-3
  10. SIMD
  11. ECHO

These algorithms are applied in this same order within X11, and the goal is for a miner to start generating a Block ID or Block Hash, starting with the first hash and ending with the last hash. Basically what it does is generate a first hash using BLAKE, taking into account the difficulty of the mining system and the target. Once this hash is generated and the work of Proof of Work (PoW) heavier, this new hash is taken and the rest of the hash functions are applied to it so that said hash changes. So every time we apply a new hash function, a different hash is generated and this hash is taken and the following function is applied to it, until the cycle ends.

An interesting point about these functions is that they were all created with the highest possible level of security in mind. In fact, all these functions were analyzed by the NIST (US National Institute of Standards and Technology) validating their security. With this we can be sure that X11 is an algorithm built on safe and proven technology.

Pros and cons of the algorithm

Pros

  1. A higher level of security compared to hash functions like SHA-256 or Scrypt. This is because not only one hash function is used, several of them are used. This allows you to create a security feedback that ultimately leads to hash of blocks that are more secure and difficult to duplicate or reverse engineer.
  2. In simple to program. X11 programming is not as complex as creating a new hash function might be. Instead, the work of already secure functions is used to create a more secure system.
  3. It is friendlier in terms of computing power and energy consumption. X11 is less demanding in terms of computing power to be successfully resolved. BLAKE the initial function is very fast and computationally inexpensive compared to SHA-256, and hence the application of the other functions maintains that same level of computational and electronic consumption.
  4. It is possible to reconfigure the algorithm to use other hash functions instead of the 11 specified at startup. You can even add additional hash functions like X13 or X17, which are just X11 variants with more active hashes.
  5. Offers great mining performance on CPU and GPU, offering a good level of profit to those who mine with this type of device.

Cons

  1. Although X11 was initially an ASIC-resistant mining algorithm, this has been left behind. Currently there are several ASIC miners on the market that can offer high mining power for X11.
  2. Due to the large number of hash functions implicit in the algorithm, modifying it to improve certain functions can be complex for programmers.

Vulnerabilities

Despite the use of various hash functions within its structure, X11 has been the victim of some striking security issues. In 2014, a small security problem with the handling of nonce within the system that affected Dash. The Dash community handled this problem quickly and managed to fix it, demonstrating the potential for audits by the community itself.

Another possible problem is related to the possibility that a hash function that makes up X11 can be attacked to the point that its hashes are not safe. However, due to the hash cascade X11 performs (passing the hash through various additional functions) this has no negative effect.

How much do you know, cryptonuta?

Does the fact that X11 uses so many different hash functions make it less secure?

FALSE!

There is a myth that X11 is cryptographically weak due to the fact that you use 11 different hash functions. However, this is a completely false statement. In fact, if a single algorithm or several, were to be weakened the rest of the algorithms would continue to maintain the security of the system. This is because the algorithms work in cascade, each one summarizing the output of the previous algorithm until it runs through the entire hashing circuit.

Blockchains using X11

Among the blockchains that use X11 as a mining algorithm, we can especially mention Dash, which was the reason why this algorithm was created. But currently, Dash uses a hybrid mining system, linking PoW (X11) and a system Proof of Stake or PoS (Masternodes) to provide a network with unique capabilities.

Beyond Dash, X11 is used more than anything by a group of blockchains and alternative currencies that may well be considered shitcoins, due to their low relevance and because they don't innovate in absolutely anything else. Some of these shitcoins are CannabisCoin, AX, PinkCoin, BolivarCoin or ProxynNode, which do not have capital exceeding 200 thousand dollars.