Bitcoin’s ‘Difficult’ Past: Exponential Network Growth Powered By Perfect Competition Today

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As of the date of this writing, block 737,000, Bitcoin is almost two-thirds into its 366th difficulty epoch. A difficulty epoch is a period in which 2,016 blocks are added to Bitcoin’s ledger, ideally in 20,160 minutes, or 14 days. If the epoch ends in less time, the network adjusts the difficulty of successfully mining a Bitcoin block upwards to regain a 10-minute block cadence, and vice versa. The entire history of Bitcoin’s difficulty is shown in the graphic below (you may need to zoom in — it’s quite a huge graphic).Figure one: Historical Difficulty Changes Since Inception

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