What Is Block Height?

The block height is the number of blocks following the very first one on the blockchain. The very first block is referred to as the genesis block. A genesis block always has a height of zero when nothing follows it. The longer the blockchain is, the higher is the quantity of the block height.

Understanding Block Height

A blockchain contains a series of sequential blocks, hence the name blockchain. These blocks are essentially data units that are used to store transactional information of the network. Each block contains a secure and public record of the transactions that occurred or were validated in the interval between the previous block and the block in question.

The very first block on a blockchain is called the genesis block. It has a block height of zero, as no blocks precede it in the blockchain. The total size of the blockchain is taken to be the height of the most recent block, or the highest block, in the chain.

Special Considerations: Bitcoin Mining

To understand block height, it is helpful to understand the process of cryptocurrency mining and how new blocks are added to the blockchain. Let's look at the case of Bitcoin. Here, a mathematical problem is linked with each block.

Miners are constantly processing and recording transactions as part of competing in a type of race. They race to "complete the current block" to win Bitcoins. When a winning miner can solve it, the answer is shared with other mining nodes and validated. Every time a miner solves a problem, a newly minted 12.5 BTC (Bitcoin currency symbol) is awarded to the miner and enters circulation.

The first record in that next block is a transaction that awards the newly minted BTC the winning miner (who completed the previous block). The difficulty of the mathematical problem regulates the creation rate of new Bitcoins since new blocks can’t be submitted to the network without the answer. Because it takes around 10 minutes on average to solve the problem, approximately 12.5 new Bitcoins are minted every 10 minutes.

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