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Proof of work (PoW) in the cryptocurrency world is an important way to validate coin transaction status and asset management. As an earlier method, it has been augmented by others such as proof of stake and proof of importance.
The idea with proof of work is that miners will use proof of work systems to show verification. Bitcoin, for example, uses a hashcash proof of work system.
To understand proof of work, think about using a mining task as verification for a block. The system is able to validate coin asset creation through taking in input showing the mining process. One of the downsides of proof of work is that it is energy intensive to produce. Partly for that reason, engineers have been contemplating other types of methods for verifying transactions, such as proof of stake, which shows various forms of ownership, and proof of importance, which takes various metrics to substantiate transaction or asset status.