The block height of a block means how many blocks come before it in the blockchain. A blockchain is like a secret-coded database that keeps a record of transactions in blocks. These blocks follow each other in a specific order.
People use blockchains for digital money like Bitcoin. Block height can show where a past transaction sits in the blockchain or tell how big the blockchain is at the moment. A chart of block height helps us see how fast new blocks get found as time goes on, especially with changing mining difficulty.
By August 2023, the Bitcoin blockchain had over 804,274 blocks, and around 144 new blocks were added every day.
Understanding Block Height
A blockchain is made up of a chain of blocks arranged in a specific order. Each block holds information about transactions on the network. They follow each other like links in a chain.
The first block in a blockchain is called the genesis block. It’s special because it doesn’t come after any other block. So, its block height is zero.
The height of the blockchain is the same as the height of the latest block or the highest block in the chain. It tells us how many blocks are in the chain in total.
Special Considerations: Bitcoin Mining
Understanding block height involves grasping how cryptocurrency mining works, particularly in the context of Bitcoin. Each block in Bitcoin is associated with a mathematical problem.
Miners are continuously processing and recording transactions while competing in a race to “finish the current block” to earn Bitcoins. When a miner successfully solves the problem, they share the solution with other miners for validation. Upon solving the problem, the winning miner is rewarded with newly minted Bitcoins, currently set at 6.25 BTC.
The first transaction recorded in the next block is the award of the newly minted Bitcoins to the miner who completed the previous block. The difficulty of the mathematical problem adjusts the rate of Bitcoin creation because new blocks cannot be added to the network without solving the problem. Since it takes about 10 minutes on average to solve the problem, approximately 6.25 new Bitcoins are minted every 10 minutes.
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