What Is Merged Mining and How Does It Work?

Crypto merged mining is a concept for mining two cryptocurrencies at once. Even though it's not as well-known as other ways of mining, some crypto networks like Dogecoin and RSK use this mechanism to make their systems more safer and better.
Crypto Merged Mining. Image By Freepik

Crypto merged mining is a concept for mining two cryptocurrencies at once. Even though it’s not as well-known as other ways of mining, some crypto networks like Dogecoin and RSK use this mechanism to make their systems more safer and better. 

How Does Merged Mining Work?

Merged mining operates by engaging both a parent network and an auxiliary network. For two cryptocurrencies to be simultaneously mined, they must share the same hash algorithm. 

To simplify the explanation, let’s consider the example of Bitcoin and RSK. In this case, Bitcoin serves as the parent protocol, and RSK functions as the auxiliary network built on the Bitcoin network. Both cryptocurrencies use the SHA-256 hash algorithm for their mining processes.

Merged Mining Process

Crypto-merged mining enables miners to utilize their computational power to mine both cryptocurrencies simultaneously, even though they operate on different networks. Miners approach both networks with equal efficiency. Essentially, it’s like mining the parent coin, with some additional setup

The first step involves collecting transaction blocks for each network. The RSK blocks act as auxiliary network blocks containing standard transactions, and the same applies to the Bitcoin Network. 

Merged mining will include additional transactions containing a hash pointing to the newly mined RSK network block. The transactions generated from the mining process include references to the RSK block in every mining job provided to the miners. 

Each time a miner discovers a solution, it is compared against the difficulty levels of both networks (Bitcoin and RSK), resulting in three possible outcomes:

  1. Meeting the Bitcoin network’s difficulty criteria:
    Mining a block at the Bitcoin difficulty level, and upon completion, the block is broadcasted to the Bitcoin network. As the difficulty level of the newly mined block surpasses that of RSK, miners automatically mine an RSK block as well. This dual mining process allows miners to receive rewards from both networks through crypto-merged mining.
  2. Meeting the RSK network’s difficulty criteria but not Bitcoin’s:
    While not meeting Bitcoin’s difficulty, the miner satisfies RSK’s difficulty. The result is sent to the RSK network but not to Bitcoin. The mining outcome aligns with the difficulty of one network only, allowing the miner to receive rewards solely from the RSK network.
  3. Not meeting the criteria of either network:
    The mining outcome’s difficulty falls significantly below that of both the Bitcoin and RSK networks. It is not broadcasted to any network, and as a result, the miner doesn’t receive rewards from either.

Impact of Merged Mining

Merged mining offers the advantage of bolstering network security while maintaining the separate functioning of interconnected networks. Auxiliary networks gain increased visibility from the main community, ensuring accelerated development without extensive costs.

But, even has some advantages, Implementing merged mining for auxiliary chains may require additional protocol system development, and sometimes even hard forks. Moreover, mining two different networks necessitates faster and more stable connections compared to before. Though rare, some cases might demand extra maintenance.

Examples of Cryptocurrencies Using Merged Mining


RSK is a cryptocurrency that has implemented merged mining. With Bitcoin using the Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm and acting as the parent network, miners can gain extra income from the existing Bitcoin protocol while benefiting from more profitability than coins with similar concepts.


Originally, Dogecoin shared the same algorithm as Litecoin. The development team realized that the original mining mechanism led to significant mining concentration within a year of launch. To counter this, a change was proposed to prevent miners from losing motivation, thereby safeguarding against a 51% attack.


Elastos is an internet network supported by blockchain technology, integrating merged mining with Bitcoin. While not as widely recognized, Elastos presents investment potential. Upon successful implementation of crypto-merged mining, Elastos’ value could rise, similarly to Dogecoin.


Merged mining represents an extraordinary opportunity for various crypto projects aiming to grow by leveraging the reputation of parent networks to enhance awareness and engagement. 

This also extends to security measures, as it minimizes the risk of 51% of attacks. With the looming threat of such attacks, it’s likely that more projects will embrace crypto-merged mining, resulting in a growing presence of mining within the global crypto market.

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