5 min read
Today we will talk about what is the block height because the block chains, like people, also have height. The difference is that blockchains are not 1.70 like Messi or Angelina Jolie, nor 1.80 like Ivanka Trump or Brad Pitt, but their measurement is counted differently.
The number used to determine what the block height of a chain is depends on the length of the chain in terms of the number of blocks.
A blockchain is composed of blocks that are linked together through different cryptographic and mathematical processes. All these blocks are defined, among other things, by a number that serves as an identifier within the blockchain. We call this number Block Height.
Importance of block height
Ok, each block has a certain number that marks the length of the blockchain but how important is the block height?
The truth is that with this number we can know how often new blocks are discovered or added to the blockchain of a given cryptomoney.
Also, the fact of knowing the height of the blocks, allows us to facilitate navigation through the information that is within that chain of blocks.
At the same time, you can also apply various functions knowing the block height, such as the Locktime that prohibits the use of bitcoins until a certain condition is met.
Another important reason is that it allows us to know the acceptance that a certain blockchain has within the community by analyzing how many blocks have been created. Although this is not always the only indicator, since for example Bitcoin has a lower block height than Ethereum. This is because Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is more demanding and blocks take longer to create.
In Bitcoin, a new block is added approximately every 10 minutes to the block chain. In the case of Ethereum, on the other hand, a block is added every 15 seconds.
How can we know the height of a block within a Blockchain?
If you want to know the height of a block, you can use a Bitcoin block browser to check any block by simply placing its respective height.
You’ll also receive information like when it was mined, how many confirmations it received, the difficulty, the size, the reward per block, etc.
For example, if you look for the number 0 and select the Bitcoin block chain, you’ll find the Genesis Block, which is the first mined block in the Bitcoin history.
Curiosities about block heights
Throughout the mining process, when a miner has successfully coded a block header, the block is added to the blockchain. An individual block can be identified by its block height, however, it is possible for more than one block in the same blockchain to have the same height.
Two blocks will have the same height if more than one miner has successfully produced a block in a blockchain simultaneously. When the same block is confirmed more than once, it has the potential to create what is called a “fork”. This happens because there can be no duplicate blocks in a specific block chain.
Blocks can also be orphaned, which means that they do not end up in the main block chain. The way this happens is that the miners produce blocks simultaneously, and then it is up to each node to choose which block to approve and add to the main block chain. The block that receives the most consensus from the decentralized network is added to the main blockchain.
Since several blocks may have the same height in a specific blockchain, the block height should not be used as a globally unique identifier. A block’s uniqueness is in the hash of its header, not in its height (which can also be checked in the blockchain explorer).
Now you know what the block height is, what its importance is, and how to check it in the blockchain explorer. Little by little you are learning and at this rate I would not be surprised if in a few months we hire you to work in Bitnovo.